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WLIT 355
Homework 4
Name: ____________________________

Who wrote No Longer Human, and when did he write it? Who wrote The Catcher in the Rye and when did he write it?


In one or two sentences point out a thematic and/or technical significance of the following passages. Choose two from each section, and answer.

Section 1)

a) It [the picture] was taken in a corner of an extraordinarily dirty room (you can plainly see in the picture how the wall is crumbling in three places).


b) For such a person as myself the atmosphere of an underground movement was curiously soothing and agreeable.


c) She continued in this hysterical vein for a while. . . I slipped out of bed, went to my desk and picked up a persimmon. I peeled it and offered Sister a section.  She ate it, still sobbing, and said, “Have you any interesting [the original says ‘amusing/funny’] books?  Lend me something.”


d) Some nights I saw these imbecile, lunatic prostitutes with the halo of Mary.


e) I drunkenly wandered along the rows of saloons behind the Ginza, singing to myself over and over again, so softly it was only a whisper, “From here it’s hundreds of miles to home . . . From here it’s hundreds of miles to home.”


f) I thought that it would make more sense if I asked some magazine to publish the whole thing as it was, rather than attempt any clumsy improvements.

Section 2)

a) It was icy as hell and I damn near fell down.


b) That way, I couldn’t see a goddam thing. “I think I’m going blind,” I said in this very hoarse voice. “Mother darling, everything’s getting so dark in here.”


c) “What?” she said. She wasn’t even listening to me.


d) “I don’t know anybody by that name, Jack. And if you think I enjoy bein’ woke up in the middle—“

“Eddie Birdsell? From Princeton?” I said. . . .
“Oh . . . How is Eddie?” she said.

e) Or you’d just passed by one of those puddles in the street with gasoline rainbows in them. I mean you’d be different in some way . . . .


f) Then a funny thing happened. When I got to the museum, all of a sudden I wouldn’t have gone inside for a million bucks. It just didn’t appeal to me . . . .


g) When I got outside, it was just getting light out.

III. Point out in one or two sentences a thematic similarity between passages a) and b).

a) Again, when as a child I saw photographs of subway trains in picture books, it never occurred to me that they had been invented out of practical necessity.


b) “Take cars,” I said. . . ‘Take most people, they’re crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they’re always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that’s even newer.’


Point out in one or two sentences a thematic/technical similarity between the clowning in No Longer Human and that in The Catcher in the Rye. Optional.


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