Re: So long fishers

Subject: Re: So long fishers
From: Tim O'Connor (
Date: Wed Sep 19 2001 - 13:20:39 GMT

On Wed, Sep 19, 2001 at 11:49:08AM +0800, Will Hochman wrote:

> I can think of worse things than being in a locked room with Scottie
> but he's right...this list has gone through a lot of different
> "stages" with a lot of good people chiming in and it should continue
> to ring our bells!

I don't know how it all got so whirling out of control. I apologized
to someone who left the list that I should have spoken up and said
anything that might have calmed the waters, but it was clear that it
wouldn't have made a difference. I suppose that is what bothers me; I
always try to make a difference when things go awry, and if I failed
to do that in this case, I apologize and hope we can limp on.

> character. Yes, Phoebe is more effective, and yes Esme is more
> divine, but Franny has the most here's my question:
> Is Franny's spiritual crisis something that seems likely today?

Good question, Will, but something difficult to answer without perhaps
offending at least someone. Franny is a student in a different era.
It's hard to envision her equvalent TODAY undergoing a spiritual
crisis of the kind Franny exhibits. An existential crisis, maybe; a
raw emotional crisis, maybe. But she's a product of her times in two
ways: one, she received an extraordinary "education" from her brothers,
so that makes her unique in one aspect that I would find hard to
imagine reproducing now; two, she was in school at a time when, to
use a word I dislike, it was more fashionable to read about religion.
(Remember that in Franny's time, for instance, Alan Watts's books on
Zen were quite popular in schools and among serious readers.) There
was much less emphasis on popular culture. I guess a way of turning
your question on its head is: if Franny's story were happening today,
and if it were told by a less ascetic writer, how much of a role
would television, music, and computer connections play in her life,
and would there be enough room left over for her spiritual crisis?

The details of her life seem quaint today. Her dorm life, her meeting
with Lane, her writing of a LETTER, Lane's saving and re-reading the
letter, the talk on the platform of "that bastard Rilke," all of it
seems as idealized as the ads for Pencey Prep.

I can see it happening perhaps in an extraordinary person, so it's
possible that the answer to your question is, sure, it could happen
today. But it would be under exceptional circumstances. And Les &
Bessie would long ago have been evicted and moved to a tiny apartment,
and the last thing Franny would have to do is move out of the way of
painters, who are creatures you rarely see after you've paid your
security deposit and moved in.

It's such a different world, I have a hard time imagining it.

But I'm often wrong, and I'd be interested in hearing other points of
view about it, especially from women close to Franny's age.


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