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Quotes

Quote #1

Anything seemed possible, likely, feasible, because I wanted everything to be possible...Because I had no power to make things happen outside of me in the objective world, I made things happen within. Because my environment was bare and bleak, I endowed it with unlimited potentialities, redeemed it for the sake of my own hungry and cloudy yearning. (1.2.568)

Richard has no agency, which is a fancy way of saying that he’s totally powerless over his world. Instead, he simply imagines magical things happening. Is magic just another form of wishing?

Quote #2

My spontaneous fantasies lived in my mind because I felt completely helpless in the face of this threat that might come upon me at any time, and because there did not exist to my knowledge any possible course of action which could have saved me if I had ever been confronted with a white mob. My fantasies were a moral bulwark that enabled me to feel I was keeping my emotional integrity whole, a support that enabled my personality to limp through days lived under the threat of violence. (1.2.512 )

Without his dreams, Richard would deflate just like a balloon. He needs them to stay afloat, even if he knows that they probably won’t come true.

Quote #3

Often, when there was no food in the house, I would dream of the Government’s sending a letter […] But no letter like that ever came, and Grandpa was so sullen most of the time that I stopped dreaming of him and his hopes. (1.5.187)

Richard isn’t just content to dream his dreams; he has to dream someone else’s dreams, too.

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