| Quote #4
"Son, you ought to be more serious," she said. "You’re growing up now and you won’t be able to get jobs if you let people think that you’re weak-minded. Suppose the superintendent of schools would ask you to teach here in Jackson, and he found out that you had been writing stories?" (1.7.118)
Only where Richard is from could writing a story be considered a sign that you’re not the brightest crayon in the box.
| Quote #5
Yes, this man was fighting, fighting with words. He was using words as a weapon, using them as one would use a club. Could words be weapons? Well, yes, for here they were. Then, maybe, perhaps, I could use them as a weapon? No. It frightened me. (1.13.31)
Words are very useful for a lot of things. For example, cutting up your enemies. Here, Richard is a young Jedi: scared of his new power, but eager to learn.
| Quote #6
While I crammed my stomach I read Stein’s Three Lives, Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, and Dostoevsky’s The Possessed, all of which revealed new realms of feeling. But the most important discoveries came when I veered from fiction proper into the field of psychology and sociology. (2.15.167)
Richard talks about books like he’s outlining his new diet. Sure, he can still read fiction—as long as he balances it with enough fiber to keep things moving along.