- Glass family
The Glass family is a group of fictional characters that have been featured in a number of
J.D. Salinger's short stories and also in the novel " Franny and Zooey", which began as the short stories "Franny" and "Zooey." All but one of the Glass family stories were first published in " The New Yorker"; several of them have been collected and published in the two compilations "Nine Stories" and "", and in the novel " Franny and Zooey".
The members of the Glass family are listed here, from eldest to youngest:
* Bessie Glass (née Gallagher) and Les Glass: Retired
vaudevilleperformers. Les is Jewish and Bessie is Irish. They are the parents of the following seven children:
* Seymour Glass: The eldest son of Bessie and Les, who was born in 1917. Seymour is featured in "
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters," " A Perfect Day for Bananafish," " Hapworth 16, 1924," " Franny and Zooey", and "." He is the author of the letter that comprises the story of "Hapworth" and is the main character in "Bananafish". Seymour commits suicide in "A Perfect Day for Bananafish", in 1948. He marries Muriel in 1942. The couple are on a second honeymoon when Seymour commits suicide. Muriel is asleep on the bed beside him when he performs this act.
* Webb Gallagher "Buddy" Glass: The protagonist in "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters," "Seymour: An Introduction," and the narrator of "Zooey". It is revealed in the latter that he wrote at least two stories collected in "Nine Stories": "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" and "Teddy". It is also suggested in "Seymour: An Introduction" that Buddy wrote "
The Catcher in the Rye". Buddy is often considered to be Salinger's alter ego. The character lives in upstate New Yorkand teaches at a women's college. Buddy was very close to Seymour before Seymour committed suicide in 1948, and he narrates most of the Glass stories in his attempt to connect with his dead brother. Buddy was born in 1919.
* Beatrice "Boo Boo" Glass Tannenbaum: Married, mother of three children, Boo Boo appears centrally in "
Down at the Dinghy," is mentioned in "Hapworth 16, 1924," and is often referenced in "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" as the "seafaring" Glass sibling currently occupying the New York apartment where much of the story's action takes place. Boo Boo "modestly prefers to be referred to as a Tuckahoe homemaker." Her age is unknown but it can be assumed that she was born in 1920, as she was born between Buddy and the twins.
* Walter "Walt" Glass: American soldier killed in an accident in
Occupied Japanshortly after World War II. He is described by his girlfriend in " Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut." He was also described in "Franny and Zooey" as being the only truly "lighthearted" son in the family. He was born in 1921.
* Waker Glass: A
Roman Catholicmonk, of the Carthusianorder. Walt's surviving twin brother. Little is known about Waker, as no stories have been written specifically about him. He has been mentioned in many of the Glass Family stories. It is likely that he was a conscientious objector during the war. He was born in 1921, twelve minutes after his twin brother.
* Zachary Martin "Zooey" Glass: Title character of "Zooey," in which he is approximately 25 years old. This would make his birth in 1930, which seems correct, as he is mentioned to be five years older than Franny. He is an actor, and (according to Buddy) the most attractive of all the children. Boo Boo describes him as "the blue-eyed Jewish-Irish Mohican scout who died in your arms at the roulette table at Monte Carlo." He is characteristically
misanthropicwhich he attributes to Seymour and Buddy's imposition of their college-age infatuation with Eastern mysticism on himself and Franny as children. The pronunciation of the name Zooey is debatable. It appears to rhyme with "phooey" but is frequently pronounced "Zoe".
* Frances "Franny" Glass: Title character of "Franny," she is a college student and actress. In both "Franny" and "Zooey", she is depicted reading the book, "
The Way of a Pilgrim", which contributes to an emotional breakdown. She was born in 1935. She likely had the shortest career on "It's a Wise Child", as the family no longer participated in the show after 1943. It is likely that Franny was only on the show for about two or three years.
The children are all precocious, and in fact have all appeared on a fictional radio quiz show called "
It's a Wise Child". "Wise Child" has, according to Salinger's stories, sent all seven Glass children through college. From 1927 to 1943, at least one of the Glass children appeared on the show, beginning with Seymour and Buddy. It is mentioned in "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" that each child appeared on the show under a pseudonym. This could explain the origins of Buddy's nickname.
The Glass family lives in
New York City; all the children spent most of their childhood in an apartment on the Upper East Side.
Influences on other works
Some of the characters in the
Wes Andersonmovie " The Royal Tenenbaums" were purportedly modelled after the Glass family, the children also being a mix of Jewish and Irish ancestry. It is notable Boo Boo is married to a Mr. Tannenbaum, as described in the story "Down at the Dinghy."
In February 1977, "Esquire" published, "For Rupert - with no promises" as an unsigned work of fiction. This was the first time in its 44 year history that "Esquire" hadn't identified a fiction writer. In the story, some signals led readers to speculate that it was in fact, the work of Salinger; first-person singular, names of the Glass family in "
For Esmé with Love and Squalor", events from the story " For Esmé with Love and Squalor". It turned out, however, to be a clever parody by then editor of Esquire - Gordon Lish, who was quoted as saying, "I tried to borrow Salinger's voice and the psychological circumstances of his life, as I imagine them to be now. And I tried to use those things to elaborate on certain circumstances and events in his fiction to deepen them and add complexity."Fact|date=September 2008 Esmé Squalor, from the " Series of Unfortunate Events" novels, is named after " For Esmé with Love and Squalor".
The Glass Family is also seen by manyWho|date=September 2008 to have influenced the Incandenza family of
David Foster Wallace's " Infinite Jest", one of whom (Mario Incandenza) is nicknamed "Boo Boo." Fact|date=September 2008
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