Perfect Passages: ‘Franny and Zooey’ by J. D. Salinger

‘… Listen, don’t hate me because I can’t remember some person immediately. Especially when they look like everybody else and talk and dress like everybody else.’ Franny made her voice stop. It sounded to her cavilling and bitchy, and she felt a wave of self-hatred that, quite literally, made her forehead begin to perspire again. But her voice picked up again, in spite of herself. ‘I don’t mean there’s anything horrible about him or anything like that. It’s just that for four solid years I’ve kept seeing Wally Campbells wherever I go. I know that they’re going to be charming, I know when they’re going to start telling you some really nasty gossip about some girl that lives in your dorm, I know when they’re going to ask me what I did over the summer, I know when they’re going to pull up a chair and straddle it backwards and start bragging in a terribly, terribly quiet voice – or name-dropping in a terribly quiet, casual voice. There’s an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial tax bracket can name-drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they’ve dropped his name – that he’s a bastard or a nymphomaniac or take dope all the time, or something horrible.’ She broke off again. She was quiet for a moment, turning the ashtray in her fingers and being careful not to look up and see Lane’s expression … ‘It isn’t just Wally. It could be a girl, for goodness’ sake … It’s everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so – I don’t know – not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and – sad-making. And that worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you’re conforming just as much as everybody else, only in a different way.’

{ Page 24-26 of ‘Franny and Zooey’ by J. D. Salinger | Review to Follow }