by Jonathan Franzen
Lies and Deceit Quotes in Freedom
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
She tried hard to be a good wife, and to please her very good husband, but a full accounting of the success of her efforts must include the e-mails that she and Richard began to exchange within days of his departure, and the permission she somehow gave him, a few weeks after that, to get on a plane to Minneapolis and go up to Nameless Lake with her while Walter was hosting another V.I.P. trip in the Boundary Waters. She immediately deleted the email with Richard's flight information, as she'd deleted the others, but not before memorizing the flight number and arrival time.
A week before the date, she repaired to the lake in solitude and gave herself entirely to derangement. It consisted of getting stumbling drunk every evening, awakening later in panic and remorse and indecision, then sleeping through the morning, then reading novels in a suspended state of false calm, then jumping up and pacing for an hour or more in the vicinity of the telephone, trying to decide whether to call Richard and tell him not to come, and finally opening a bottle to make the whole thing go away for a few hours. (2.3.530-531)
Did you read the above quote and think, "Well, here's the perfect illustration"? We call it, "Why Lying Is A Bad Idea – Because It Makes You Feel Like This." The lie never stops, you know? It's not like one mistake, which you can just walk away from. In a way, by lying to Walter, Patty will be continually cheating on him (until she confesses what happened).
She'd flown to Philadelphia on Thursday, in order to spend, as she carefully told Walter, an actual day on her own as a tourist. Taking a cab to the city center, she was pierced unexpectedly by regret for not doing exactly that: not walking the streets as an independent adult woman, not cultivating an independent life, not being a sensible and curious tourist instead of a love-chasing madwoman. (2.3.554)
This brings us back to freedom, as Patty feels imprisoned by her betrayal. But it's specifically her lies to Walter that bring the divergent paths into sharp relief.
Having sworn to Jonathan that he wouldn't have sex with Jenna, Joey felt insured against every contingency in Argentina. If nothing happened, it would prove him honorable. If something did happen, he would not have to be chagrined and disappointed that something hadn't. (3.5.326)
So let's see: Joey swears that he won't do the thing he most wants to do, but that probably won't happen. So then if nothing happens, he'll have told the truth. And if something does happen, the awesomeness of that result will outweigh the guilt of having lied (you know, to his best friend… about having sex with his best friend's sister). Well, we certainly know where his priorities lie.