Frank and Zooey: Characters
The first title character is described as the “languid, sophisticated type.” The stunningly attractive young woman is in the midst of a spiritual breakdown. She is fascinated with the concept of praying incessantly as a way to “see God.” She rants against phonies and egotism to her boyfriend Lane at dinner. She eventually faints in the restaurant. She returns home, and her family tries to help her. Her brother, Zooey Glass, talks to her about her spiritual and social issues. By the end of the stories, he can help her find some peace.
Franny Glass’s boyfriend, Lane is called a phony and a “charm boy” by Zooey. He represents the egotism in academia that Franny does not like. Franny visits Lane and the two go out to dinner, where he orders snails and frog legs. At the restaurant, he talks a lot about a paper he has written and wants Franny to read it.
As Franny descends into her meltdown, Lane continually asks what is wrong with her and challenges her assumptions. Bessie says Lane calls to see how Franny is doing, but Zooey does not believe that he cares.
The sharp-tongued protagonist of Zooey, Zooey Glass is a famous actor who talks to his sister Franny when she retreats home after her meltdown. He shares many of the concerns and hatreds as Franny. Franny describes him as destructive, and Bessie says he makes people he does not like nervous.
After Zooey reduces Franny to tears, Zooey calls Franny from inside the house pretending to be their brother Buddy. Zooey tells Franny to respect and honor all human beings, even if you do not like them. She finds some peace from their conversation.
The matriarch of the Glass family, Bessie is naturally concerned about her daughter Franny. Bessie encourages her children’s pursuit of knowledge, but is not as gifted as they are. She constantly offers her daughter chicken broth to improve her nutrition, but the offers are declined. She is known to always wear an unflattering kimono around the apartment. She grows frustrated that the rest of the family cannot seem to help her keep the family together during hard times. In the book, she takes a lot of abuse from Zooey, whom she has a lengthy conversation with in the bathroom.