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Quotes

Quote #4

Once while she was engaged in flogging a servant in an apartment on the second floor of her palatial apartment, a small Negro boy entered the room and began to whimper. (4.151)

This is part of a chilling story within the story of Cass Burden. It presents a horrific vision of America. When we think of slavery, we often think of big cotton plantations. This reminds us that there were also inner city torture chambers in the very best of homes. That was part of the American dream.

Quote #5

The band blaring, the roaring of the seas, the screams like agony, the silence, the one woman-scream, silver and soprano spangling the silence like the cry of a lost soul […]. (4.282)

This is not the way we ordinarily hear people talking about football. Is this line slightly confusing, or did you get it right away? The "one-woman scream" is a fancy way of saying that some woman is singing "The Star Spangled Banner" at a football game. Jack poeticizes the moment to express his complicated feelings about this aspect of the American dream.

Quote #6

[Willie Stark:] "I'll hit him. I'll hit him with that meat axe." (6.490)

Some guys play air guitar. Other guys play air meat axe. We never see Willie do anything physically violent in the novel, but his speeches are full of blood and guts and meat axings. This is what the crowd wants. When the gentle approach doesn't work, Willie has to switch over to a more violent approach.

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