| Quote #4
I had learned to know these people better in five hours than I had learned to know my own family in five years.
Later, after I had grown to understand the peasant mentality of Bess and her mother, I learned the full degree to which my life at home had cut me off, not only from white people but from Negroes as well. (1.11.110)
When he gets out from under the thumb of his family, Richard is surprised to see that some people are just—nice. And friendly. And not out to beat him every time he opens his mouth.
| Quote #5
I wanted a life in which there was a constant oneness of feeling with others, in which the basic emotions of life were shared, in which common memory formed a common past, in which collective hope reflected a national future.(2.15.170)
Richard talks a lot about how he has no friends and phooey, who needs ‘em anyway. But, come on, the whole book is about trying to find connection. Your words ring a little hollow, dude.
| Quote #6
And I knew that my words sounded wild and foolish in my environment, where reading was almost unknown, where the highest item of value was a dime or a dollar, an apartment or a job; where, if one aspired at all, it was to be a doctor or a lawyer, a shopkeeper or a politician. […] I never criticized them or praised them, yet they felt in my neutrality a deeper rejection of them than if I had cursed them. (2.15.178)
Yeah... Richard isn’t judging the people in his environment. He’s just saying they drool. That’s totally not judging.