By Lawrence R. Broer
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Extra info for Sanity Plea: Schizophrenia in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut
Even at the end of the book, we find Paul not very different from Ewing I. Halyard, wondering about the mechanics of being human, "mechanics far beyond the poor leverage of free will" (300-301). Given Paul's record of moral evasion, it is not surprising that he should so easily fall prey to such paralyzing fatalism. The philosophic consolations of fatalism can be devilishly alluring since one need not struggle to be aware of or to change that which is believed unchangeable. It is a particularly deadly form of self-loss because by such paralysis the individual may well perpetuate his own doom at the hands of whatever totalitarian entity attempts to consume him.
At the start of their marriage, she merges her identity with Paul's mother by hanging his father's picture in the bedroom (66). She worships the image with idolatrous if not erotic fervor. She later turns her affection to Lawson Shepherd, whom she claims is the exact image of Paul's father (67). Finally, she withdraws from Paul's mother-fantasy by accusing him of not desiring her at all but "something ... shaped like a woman" (237). Her warmth, then, is doubly "counterfeit" (25). " Aware that it is her "counterfeit" image in the mirror that attracts Paul, Anita asserts her own selthood by covering her bosom, denying him his most passionate need: the maternal, erotic breasts.
251, 252) Looking for some small sign that his life has something of human value in it, Constant ransacked his memory like a thief going through another man's billfold. Constant found his memory stuffed with rumpled, overexposed snapshots of all the women he had had, with preposterous credentials testifying to his ownership of even more preposterous enterprises, with testimonials that attributed to him virtues and strengths that only three billion dollars could have.... All that remained to Constant were the husks of his memory-unstitched, flaccid flaps.
Sanity Plea: Schizophrenia in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut by Lawrence R. Broer