Philip Roth’s American Pastoral

STUDY GUIDE         22

Philip Roth’s American Pastoral

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Chapters 3 & 4


Zuckerman as Author



Chapter 3


This is the book’s pivotal chapter, the one you’ll want to read most closely.


The chapter begins with Zuckerman’s conversation—I almost want to call it a confrontation—with his boyhood “sort of” friend, the Swede’s brother Jerry.


It’s as if Jerry’s ping-pong playing style has carried over into his way of talking to people.  We get a quick understanding of why he is terror of the operating rooms and why he has been divorced three times.  Note the blunt way that he “interrogates” Zuckerman and the way that Zuckerman jokingly fends him off.


In their conversation, we get a little extra piece of information about Zuckerman.  “I read somewhere that you were living in England with an aristocrat,” says Jerry.  And Zuckerman doesn’t deny that relationship: “I live in New England now but without an aristocrat.”


Zuckerman, under the pressure of being asked to say more about his own life, shifts the topic by starting to tell Jerry about his restaurant meeting with his brother.  Jerry brings him up short with the blunt announcement: “He’s dead.”


What happens next is that Jerry offers a characterization of his brother’s life.  By the end of this chapter, Zuckerman is going to decide to write a novel, an extended piece of fiction based upon Swede’s life.  And he’s going to build much of that novel from what Jerry tells him in this conversation.  When you are nearing the end of the novel, you should come back to this conversation and consider how much he has kept of what Jerry tells him, how much he has altered, and how much is purely the invention of Zuckerman.


Some of what Jerry tells him corresponds with his own impressions.  “He was a very, nice, simple, stoical guy.  Not a humorous guy.  Not a passionate guy.”  But then he adds, “Just a sweetheart whose fate it was to get himself fucked over by some real crazies.”  He elaborates on the “nice guy” theme and the very conventional life that he attempted to live:


That ordinary decent life that they all want to live, and that’s it.  The social norms, and that’s it.               Benign, and that’s it.  But what he was doing was trying to survive, keeping his group intact. (64)


Zuckerman already knows about Swede’s conventionality, but Jerry’s emphasis on the “crazies” and keeping things “intact” is something new—and interesting.  Notice that Zuckerman is also a little suspicious of Jerry’s account.  Even the harsh Jerry may be getting a little sentimental about his brother now that he’s dead.  What we get here is Zuckerman already turning the story over in his mind, learning more but also being a bit skeptical.  He knows, for example, that the two men didn’t have the same view of their father.  But Zuckerman listens, taking in details:


“My father,” Jerry said, “was one impossible bastard.  Overbearing.  Omnipresent.  I don’t know how people worked for him.  When they moved to Central Avenue, the first thing he had the   movers move was his desk, and the first place he put it was not in the glass-enclosed office but          dead center in the middle of the factory floor, so he could keep his eye on everybody.”  (66)



Jerry goes on to recount, with a mixture of admiration and scorn, how his brother willingly went into his father’s business, working from the ground up, “doing everything the way my old man taught him.”  But he was also charming in a way that his father was not.  And when he took over that business, the business took off.  He knew how to get the confidence of all the buyers he had to deal with, and he knew the products themselves completely:


Knew all the stuff: what colors are going to be next season’s colors, whether the length is going to             be up or down.  Attractive, responsible, hard-working guy.


As he is extolling his brother, Jerry keeps intertwining the negative references, apparently to the “crazies,” his “group”:


He had a big, generous nature and with that they really raked him over the coals, all the impossible             ones.  Unsatisfiable father, unsatisfiable wives, and the little murderer herself.  (67)


What?  Zuckerman has no idea what Jerry is referring to, and Jerry is surprised that he doesn’t know who and what he means when he speaks of “Little Merry’s darling bomb.”  He explains contemptuously:


“Meredith Levov.  Seymour’s daughter.  The high school kid who blew up the post office and      killed the doctor.  The kid who stopped the war in Vietnam by blowing up somebody out mailing a        letter at five A.M.  A doctor on his way to the hospital. Charming child.”


Zuckerman is shocked and fascinated, as he begins to realize that in fact there has been some “substratum” after all under the apparently placid surface of Swede’s life, and he absorbs Jerrry’s bitter account of the contrast between the liberal Swede and his radical,war-protesting daughter:


He understood that something was going wrong, but he was no Ho-Chi-Minhite like his darling fat             girl.  Just a liberal sweetheart of a father.


The Ho-Chi-Minh reference probably needs some explaining.  During the height of the Vietnam era, many Americans protested against the war.  But only a few on the radically far left went so far as to identify with and even root for the communist North Vietnamese side under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh.  Merry had been among that radical fringe, some of whom were willing to make their protests into acts of violence aimed at U. S. institutions.  That evidently was what Merry was up to in trying to blow up the post office.  For Jerry, Merry’s behavior had little to do with the Vietnam War:


She was miserable, self-righteous—little shit was no good from the time she was born. . . .  That   bomb detonated his life.  His perfect life was over.  Just what she had in mind.  That’s why they            had it in for him, the daughter and her friends.  He was so in love with his own good luck, and they     hated him for it.  (69)


In his rant,  Jerry drops details that Zuckerman is going to retain: Merry was fat, Merry was a stutterer, Merry fled after the bomb went off and hid away for years.  Jerry also tells Zuckerman that Swede eventually reconnected with Merry and somehow managed to keep in contact for years.  Not too long before his own death, she had died, and Swede was heart-broken.  He had told Jerry, and Jerry was not exactly a fountain of sympathy: “‘She’s dead?  Good!  Let her go.  Otherwise it will rot in your gut and take your life too.’  That’s what I told him.  I thought I could let the rage out of him.  But he just cried.”


Zuckerman doesn’t buy Jerry’s “theory” of the cleansing power of rage, but he listens intently as Jerry piles on the details.  And Jerry eventually has something to say about Jerry’s wife Dawn, Miss New Jersey:


He could have married any beauty he wanted.  Instead he marries the bee-yoo-ti-full Miss Dwyer.              You should have seen them.  Knockout couple.  The two of them all smiles on their outward trip into the U.S.A.  She’s post-Catholic, he’s post-Jewish, together they’re going out there to Old             Rimrock to raise little post-toasties.  Instead they get that fucking kid.  (73)


“What was wrong with Miss Dwyer?,” Zuckerman asks.


“No house they lived in was right.  No amount of money in the bank was enough.  He set her up in             the cattle business.  That didn’t work.  He set her up in the nursery tree business.  That didn’t work.              He took her to Switzerland for the world’s best face-lift.  Not even into her fifties, still in her             forties, but that’s what the woman wants. . . ”


“One day life started laughing at him,” says Jerry, “and it never let up.”


Just then they are interrupted, and Zuckerman says something that may help us in understanding the rest of the novel:


That was as far as we got, as much of an earful as I was to hear from Jerry—anything more I             wanted to know, I’d have to make up.  (74)



Anything more he wanted to know he’d have to make up?  As we read forward in the novel we will see that most of what he writes about Swede and his family is made up by Zuckerman.  He only learns this much from his brother Jerry, and he doesn’t trust all of that.


At this moment Zuckerman seems to be speaking from the position of already having written the rest of the story that we will be reading, and he imagines showing it to Jerry (something as an experienced novelist he has learned not to do).  We might note the objections that he imagines Jerry would make:


“The wife was nothing like this the kid was nothing like this—got even my father wrong. .  . He’s             charming.  He’s conciliatory.  .  .”  And he’s given his brother “a mind, awareness . . . This is the mind he didn’t have.  Christ, you even gave him a mistress.  Perfectly misjudged, Zuck.              Absolutely off.”


What we’re going to be getting, although as readers we’ll tend to forget it, is Zuckerman’s story, and among the questions we can ask ourselves is why he tells it the way he does and whether it tells us something about Zuckerman too.  Zuckerman admits that he tried to do some research—looked at old yearbooks, saw some photograph, found the site of the Newark Maid factory, went out to Old Rimrock in Morris County and so on.  But he didn’t learn much more than what Jerry had told him.


By the way, in case you were wondering, there is no Old Rimrock in Morris County.

You may also be wondering if Zuckerman is Philip Roth.  Well . . . no.  But Zuckerman the author appears in numerous books by Philip Roth.  He is sometimes described by literary critics as Roth’s “alter-ego,” whatever that psychological term may be stretched to mean.  You might also find it interesting to know that Roth, like Zuckerman, was married to and then divorced from an Englishwoman, not exactly an “aristocrat,” but a famous actress, Claire Bloom.


It’s also interesting to know that the Swede is very loosely based on an actual Jewish three-sport star in a Newark High School, someone named Seymour Masin.  One day he picked up a copy of American Pastoral in a New Jersey bookstore and supposedly said, “Hey, this is me.”  He read a little further and said, “Hey, this isn’t me.”


After Zuckerman and Jerry are interrupted and Jerry abruptly leaves to get his flight back to Miami,

the re-union continues, and Zuckerman finds himself chatting with a high school sweetheart, Joyce Halperin.  But even as he is bantering with her, he finds himself drifting into the story that is now absorbing him:


When we’d met at Vincent’s perhaps he insisted on how well his three boys had turned out because             he assumed I know about the bomb, about the daughter, the Rimrock Bomber, and had judged him             harshly, as some people must.


He is both imagining how it must have been for Swede and recognizing that he can’t actually know and “will have to make it up.”  Before he has even left the reunion he is inventing more details and even deciding on the big American theme that Swede’s story will dramatize, “the longed for American pastoral” gone “berserk.”  The story will be about “the old intergenerational give-and-take of the country that used to be” and “the ritual post-immigrant struggle for success turning pathological.” Those phrases need some digesting, don’t they?  Take your time.  Keep in mind that you’ll be writing a paper about this book.


Zuckerman begins to summarize some of the details of the story as he’s formulating it, making a few adjustments and revisions as he goes along.  But how did it all start?, he asks himself.  In other words, how does he set this story going in some plausible way?  What he chooses is a moment right out of Freudian psychology.  You may have read about Sigmund Freud’s theory of the “Oedipal Complex” according to which boys at some early point of their lives experience sexual attraction towards their mother and a corresponding jealousy or suppressed aggression towards their father.  There is also a corresponding female version of this theory called the Electra complex, in which girls feel this attraction toward their fathers and hostility towards their mothers.


Freudian theory is not much in favor these days, but Zuckerman seems to find it useful in getting his story going, and he proceeds to imagine an Electra moment between daughter and father on a ride back from the beach:


“Daddy, kiss me the way you k-k-kiss umumumother.” (89)


Notice that Zuckerman has picked up on the detail that Jerry had slipped into his diatribe against Merry–“she stuttered, you know” (73)–and he is going to be making use of it.


We learn for example that Merry’s stuttering bothered her mother, who anxiously tried to coach her through her stuttering moments and would eventually set up appointments with therapists in an effort to “cure” the problem while Swede took it gently in stride.  At one point Merry tells him, “I’m not the problem—Mother is” (90).


From this point forward in the novel, Nathan Zuckerman drops away—bye, bye,  Zuck—and the story takes over.  But in a sense, of course, he never really goes away.  He is the one calling the shots.  Jerry never mentioned any efforts to get Merry speech therapy, for example, and Jerry said nothing about tensions between mother and daughter.  Zuckerman is taking charge of the story.


So we’re off and running with an account of Merry’s early years and the “phases” she goes through such as the Audrey Hepburn phase, the Catholicism phase, the 4H phase.  And then the narrative slows down a bit, with the tension-visits that Merry has with the child psychiatrist.  Swede is especially frustrated by the psychiatrist and one day confronts him.  The psychiatrist has suggested that at the root of Merry’s stuttering is the problem of “having such good-looking and successful parents.”


As best the Swede could follow what he was hearing, her parental good fortune was just too much             for Merry, and so, to withdraw from the competition with her mother, to get her mother to hover over and focus on her and eventually climb the walls—and, in addition, to win the father away            from the beautiful mother, she chose to stigmatize herself with a severe stutter, thereby        manipulating everyone from a point of seeming weakness.  (96)


The Swede considers this a lot of psychological claptrap, and I think we’re encouraged to see it that way too (I also wonder if Zuckerman is backing away from having resorted to glib Freudian psychology to get his story going).  But Merry does have a problem—if only because her mother and, to some extent, her father treat it as a problem:


Nothing anybody said meant anything or, in the end, made any sense.  The psychiatrist didn’t help,             the speech therapist strategies didn’t help, the stuttering diary didn’t help, he didn’t help, Dawn             didn’t help, not even the light, crisp enunciation of Audrey Hepburn made the slightest dent.  She             was simply in the hands of something she could not get out of.  (99)


Then we get a powerful transition, as the narrative skips five years and Merry is in high school:


And then it was too late: like some innocent in a fairy story who has been tricked into drinking the             noxious potion. .  . almost overnight she became large, a large, loping, slovenly sixteen-year-old,             nearly six feet tall, nicknamed by her schoolmates Ho Chi Levov. (100)


We land in the midst of the era of the Vietnam and its protests, the late 1960s (“Hey, Hey, LBJ/ How many kids did you kill today?”).  Versions of the confrontations between parents and teenagers occur all across America, but not quite like this:


“Merry,” said her petite mother to the large glowering girl, “you might be able to influence Senator             Case–” “C-c-c-c-c-c-c-case!” erupted Merry and, to the astonishment of her parents, proceeded to             spit on the tiled kitchen floor.  (100)


The Swede has joined a group of Jersey businessmen who are themselves against the war, but Merry is not impressed by her father’s liberal efforts.  And her mother has a particularly difficult time even attempting to talk with her.  “The Swede would overhear Merry fighting with her every time the two of them were alone together for two minutes.”  She would head for the barn.  “You’re not antiwar,” Dawn says, “you’re anti everything.”  “And what are you, Mom?  You’re pro c-c-c-cow!”


Dawn and the Swede disagree about how to cope with her.  “She’s become stupid, Seymour; she gets more and more stupid each time we talk.”  He says, “No, it’s just a very crude kind of aggression.  It’s not very well worked out.  But she is still smart.”  Swede shows patience and thoughtfulness and a determination to keep talking with his daughter.  In the final pages of the chapter that patience is demonstrated in a series of snapshots of conversations between father-and-daughter as she pulls away from her parents and spends weekends with radical friends in New York.  Roth/Zuckerman ingeniously demonstrates the tedium, frustration, and persistence of these repetitive conversations–”Conversation #4 . . . Conversation  #12. . . and so on, all the way to the end of the chapter when in Conversation #67, Swede implores Merry to stop going into New York: “You want to be in opposition?  Be in opposition here. . . Start in your hometown, Merry. That’s the way to end the war.”


“It worked,” we’re told in the closing paragraph.  “She took his advice and stayed at home, and, after turning their living room into a battlefield, after turning Morristown High into a battlefield, she went out one day and blew up the post office, destroying right along with it Dr. Fred Conlon and the village’s general store.”


So ends the first section of the novel, the three chapters called “Paradise Remembered,” a label that doesn’t seem very accurate to me.  The three chapters of the next section are accurately titled, though: They are called “The Fall.”



Chapter 4


It is four months after the bombing.  The chapter introduces us to an entirely new character, Rita Cohen.  We are immediately told who she is—an “emissary” from Merry.  But the Swede does not learn this right away.  Instead she presents herself to Swede as a graduate student doing a dissertation on the leather industry of Newark and looking for a guided tour of his factory.  He obliges.


Why does Rita not confront the Swede right away and instead goes through the motions of wanting a tour of the glove factory?  We’re offered several possible explanations of Rita’s motives: it was “so she could size up the Swede first; or maybe she said nothing for so long the better to enjoy toying with him.  Maybe she just enjoyed the power.” (118)


But I think it’s for none of these reasons.  Philip Roth writes the scene this way so that he can show us all he’s learned about the glove industry.  Or, we could say that Roth has Zuckerman write the scene this way so that he can more fully humanize the Swede by showing his deep involvement in the glove business and his affectionate feeling for his father.  For in conducting the tour the Swede steps into the role that he has heard his father perform many times.  He gets so absorbed in giving the tour that he even momentarily forgets the pain he had been constantly feeling over the loss of his daughter.


Notice on p. 118 how Zuckerman uses the few factory details that he has absorbed from Jerry’s description of his father’s tyrannical command of the factory floor.  Swede’s description of his father at work does not differ in substance from Jerry’s, but it differs entirely in tone:


His father had refused to be confined to any office, glass-enclosed or otherwise, just planted his desk in the middle of the making room’s two hundred sewing machines—royalty right at the heart       of the over-crowded hive, the swarm around him whining its buzz-saw bee buzz while he talked to     his customers and his contractors on the phone and simultaneously plowed through his paperwork.    Only from out on the floor, he claimed, could he distinguish within the contrapuntal din the sound       of a Singer on the fritz and with his screwdriver be over the machine before the girl had even     alerted her forelady to the trouble.  (118)


We are also introduced to another character, Vicky, “Newark Maid’s elderly black forelady,” who had worked for Swede’s father for many years and now works for him.  We get a short flashback to the kind words that Vicky offered at Lou’s retirement banquet, and that memory takes the Swede back to the recollection of his own praise for his father at the banquet:


Ladies and gentlemen, the man who has been my lifelong teacher—and not just in the art of             worrying—the man who has made of my life a lifelong education, a difficult education sometimes             but always a profitable one, who explained to me when I was a boy of five the secret of making a             product perfect–“You work at it,” he told me. .  . ”


This was banquet talk, where people always praise the retiree being celebrated, but the Swede seems to recall his own speech with the sincere warmth that he felt at the time.  This is not the same picture that Jerry has painted of his father as an “impossible bastard,” even though some of the same traces are there.


In the meantime, Rita Cohen is getting the full tour, and the Swede is getting into the swing of it: “Not since Merry had disappeared had he felt anything like this loquacious.”  And we get a glimpse of what Swede’s life has been like in the months since the bombing:


Right up to that morning, all he’d been wanting was to weep or to hide; but because there was             Dawn to nurse and a business to tend to and his parents to prop up, because everybody else was             paralyzed by disbelief and shattered to the core. . .


He had been the rock.  What does he mean, do you think, in saying that there had been “Dawn to nurse”?  That she’s a kind of basket case.  And note that although his father has retired, he and Swede’s mother are both still around but also hurting.  Swede continues the tour: “But now words were sweeping him on, buoying him up, his father’s words released by the sight of this tiny girl studiously taking them down” (121).   Swede himself is a bit of a basket case here, as the small size of Rita Cohen triggers his memories of Merry as a child running around the factory on a similar tour with her grade school classmates.  His memory of her is lyrical—pastoral maybe.  But look at how the memory of Merry as a little girl merges here with Swede’s bitter echo of the Marxist language which she had begun to use in thinking of her father as a part of the country’s capitalist machine.


Merry flitting from floor to floor, so proud and proprietary, flaunting her familiarity with all the             employees, unaware as yet of the desecration of dignity inherent to the ruthless exploitation of the             worker by the profit-hungry boss who unjustly owns the means of production. (122)


This is exactly the jargon that Swede will be hearing from Rita Cohen when she finally reveals herself, but in the meantime she is nodding and expressing great interest as the Swede introduces her to workers that have been with his company for many years.  Roth/Zuckerman is also keeping us in suspense as he digresses into side-stories like the beautiful one about Harry the cutter whose immigrant father, also a cutter, had seen the 9-foot tall circus performer on a street and gone home to cut him a glove to fit his huge hand.  It’s a story that the Swede has clearly heard many times.  Rita playfully draws a moral from the story that “you don’t have to know English to cut a perfect pair of gloves for a man nine feet tall.”  And the Swede, almost as if she’s his daughter, laughs, puts his arm around her and calls her honey.  She eggs him on a bit and asks wide-eyed, “Do other people feel the romance of the glove business the way you do, Mr. Levov?”  And she adds, “I guess that’s what makes you a happy man.” (130)


Being called “happy” snaps the Swede back to the reality of the situation, and we get a passage that can be called an interior monologue, taking us right into the jumbled mind of the Swede as, on the verge of breaking down, he begins to silently to lose it:


This is called a polishing machine and that is called a stretcher and you are called honey and I am             called Daddy and this is called living and the other is called dying and this is called madness . . .


This is not the serene man that Zuckerman had first imagined, a man who is all superficiality, with no internal life.  His internal life is about to explode in anguish.  But he keeps it together and finishes the tour.  He and Rita wait in his office for the finished gloves that will complete the tour.  (It’s the glass partitioned office—he’s unlike his father in wanting the noise).  When the glove comes and he gives Rita a last little lesson about how the glove is precisely calculated to be able to stretch to fit the size, with “the stretch hidden in the width.”   Rita seems to have a snide sexual meaning—she makes it clearer later when she compares gloves to female parts—when she says “God bless the precise calculators of this world “who leave stretch hidden in the width.”  Then she quietly reveals who she is.  She has an absurd yet encouraging request: Merry wants her Audrey Hepburn scrapbook!


What follows then is a series of meetings in which Rita lectures Swede on capitalism, accuses him of corruption, tells him that Merry hates him, and somewhat more persuasively critiques the mother/daughter relationship.  Each time Swede brings what he has been asked to bring, and each time he tries to find out what he can about where Merry is and how she is surviving—and he gets nowhere.  He can barely contain his rage but realizes that he must.  Nevertheless he fantasizes violence:


There’s more human sense in one page of the stuttering diary than in all the sadistic idealism in this             reckless child’s head.  Oh, to crush that hairy, tough little skull of hers—right now, between his two             strong hands, to squeeze it and squeeze it until all the vicious ideas came streaming from her nose!             (139).


At what will be their last meeting, Swede is told to bring $5,000—Is this some kind of shakedown?  Is it possible that she doesn’t even know Merry?, he wonders.  They meet in a hotel, where she also crudely propositions him—almost as if it’s some sort of test.  He does not seem to feel lust, but he does feel enough confusion to quickly exit the hotel, leaving the money behind.  And that is the last he will see of Rita Cohen, although he will hear from her again.


Has Jerry said anything about Rita Cohen?  She must be entirely Zuckerman’s invention, right?  Is she essential to the plot?  Why do you think Zuckerman creates her?  Or, perhaps more precisely, why do you think Philip Roth has Zuckerman invent her?  These are not questions to which I have the answers.


The chapter is not over.  We get one of those blank spaces indicating a transition and then the sentence “Five years pass.”  If you flip forward another five pages you get the same sentence again: “Five years pass.”  Then another five pages and another “Five years pass.”  The first time I read this sequence, I thought the years were adding up:  Let’s see: 5+5+5+5.  But, no, that’s not what’s happening.  It’s the same five excruciatingly long years.  The point is that these five years drag on and on for the Swede and Dawn; it’s all within the period from 1968 to 1973.


One of the events during the five years is an actual historical event, the “Townhouse explosion” (149-50)  Within the radical group of war protesters known as SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) there was an even more radical wing called the Weathermen.  In March of 1970, a Manhattan townhouse that belonged to the parents of one of the Weathermen exploded with the bomb-makers inside.  Two of them were killed, and two others emerged dazed from the wreckage.  The Swede watches the coverage of this event on TV, imagining that one of the surviving young women is Merry.  She isn’t.


Swede goes over his memories of Merry again and again.  Where did he and Dawn go wrong?  He remembers back to when Merry was quite young and the Vietnam War was just beginning.  The network news showed graphic footage of protesting Buddhist monks igniting themselves in flame.  And Swede remembers Merry watching transfixed and asking him to explain what was going on.  Were those first violent images linked somehow to later?


In a particularly odd episode, Swede imagines that he is talking at the kitchen table with the radical professor Angela Davis, associated with both the Black Panthers and the anti-war movement.  The Swede has read enough of her articles to imagine how she would describe and analyze his daughter’s commitment to anti-capitalism, the anti-war movement, and to racial justice.  In “talking with” Angela Davis, he tries to reassure her that his heart is in the right place.  He too opposes the war, and as for racial justice, he has stood tall during the Newark riots.


This is the second reference to the Newark riots that occurred in 1967.  Swede had made a passing reference to the riots back in his restaurant meeting with Zuckerman.  His point in both instances is that he kept his factory operating and his workers employed when all the other factories were shutting down and their companies were leaving the city.  And he tells her of how at the peak of the riots he and his forewoman Vicky—he makes sure to tell Angela that Vicky is black—were able to appease and fend off the rioters.  You might note that in justifying himself that Swede stresses that while working at Newark Maid Vicky has been able to put her twin sons through college—and notice that the college is Rutgers, Newark!—and she has since sent them on to Medical School (161).  What he doesn’t tell Angela is that all that is keeping him and his business in Newark is the thought of his daughter’s disapproval if he were to leave.  I need to keep stressing that Swede is merely imagining himself in this conversation with Angela Davis.  It shows how crazed he is in his grief.  Yet he is the stable one in his marriage.


You should also note that by the time of the Newark riots, Swede’s father Lou had already retired.  But that didn’t stop him from flying up from Florida to offer his “advice.”  Lou is clearly racist, and he is difficult for Swede to deal with.  He speaks disparagingly of “that son a bitch LeRoi Jones,” and adds, “That Peek-A-Boo-Boopy-Do whatever the hell he calls himself” (163).  This is Lou refusing to say the name Amiri Baraka (the poet we looked at a few weeks ago).  Lou is experiencing his own complicated pain, the loss of his grand-daughter, the aimlessness of his retirement, and the transformation of the city that he had known all his life.


“And this is just a part of what is meant by ‘Five years pass.’”  The final section of the chapter is about Swede’s efforts to resume “normal” life in Old Rimrock after his daughter had blown up the Post Office, killing the Doctor.  In the half-forward, half-backward movement of this book, we have not yet been shown the “pastoral” pleasure that his home in Old Rimrock has had for Swede.  We are seeing it first through the pain of its aftermath.  He tries to speak with the widow of the Doctor and is startled when she declines his sympathy and says that she pities him.  He watches as a new general store is constructed “where the store used to be.”


The chapter ends with Swede doing his best to maintain a life of normalcy, an “outer life.”  But there is also a churning “inner life” of “horrible imaginings, fantasy conversations, unanswerable questions,” enormous loneliness, and remorse.  Could that original kiss have done all this?  Even more frighteningly, could nothing have done it?”  In other words, do the tragedies of life simply occur at random with no cause at all?  There was “nothing to be done but respectably carry on the huge pretense of living as himself.”  Zuckerman has certainly given Swede an inner life.


Question 3. An attentive reading of this chapter reveals that Merry’s bomb in February of 1968 is                         the second explosive event that the Swede has experienced within a year.  What was the first,                         and how did he deal with it?  Are the two events connected in some way?


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  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment Help Service Works

1. Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2. Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3. Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4. Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

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