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by Jonathan Franzen

Betrayal Quotes in Freedom

How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

And a neutral bystander he [Walter] remained all through the spring and summer of Joey's sophomore year and into the following fall, when Jessica went off to college in the East and Joey moved out of his parents' house and in with Carol, Blake, and Connie. (1.1.120)

One could make the argument that the entire book pivots around this one fateful decision. What do you think Joey's motives are? Is it just to share a bed with his girlfriend? Or to get out from under his parents' thumb? Or to flex his freedom muscles? Or just to spend time in Blake's awesome room? Does he even understand how betrayed his parents will feel? Does he consider the consequences of his actions?

Quote #2

"No, seriously, I can see why you don't respect us. If all you ever see, year after year, is girls who want you to betray your best friend. I can see that's a weird situation." (2.2.781)

Is this an accurate description of Richard's view of women? Is this why he doesn't respect them? Or do you think it inflates his view of himself to deny these temptations?

Quote #3

That she could say all this, and not only say it but remember it very clearly afterward, does admittedly cast doubt on the authenticity of her sleep state. But the autobiographer is adamant in her insistence that she was not awake at the moment of betraying Walter and feeling his friend split her open. Maybe it was the way she was emulating the fabled ostrich and keeping her eyes firmly shut [...] (2.3.393)

Again, that italicized word: "adamant." Patty's highest priority is to absolve herself of blame for betraying Walter. That is, she totally gets what an unforgivable betrayal it is, but in order to live with herself she needs to do whatever she can to make it seem, um, less bad.

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