| Quote #4
Mister Singer would be skating with her. And maybe Carole Lombard or Arturo Toscanini who played on the radio. (2.1.3)
Mick, like Etta, is a fan of movie stars like Carole Lombard as well as radio personalities. These details about contemporary pop culture contribute to the novel's sense of time and place. They also help us understand that these characters are deeply dissatisfied with their lives. They have Big Dreams, many of which we know won't come true.
| Quote #5
By the hatrack she stopped before the picture of Old Dirty-Face. This was a photo of her Mama's grandfather. He was a major way back in the Civil War and had been killed in a battle. [...] The picture was in the middle of a three-part frame. On both sides were pictures of his sons. They looked about Bubber's age. They had on uniforms and their faces were surprised. They had been killed in a battle also. A long time ago. (2.1.36)
For a book about the South, the Civil War gets surprisingly few shout-outs. This mention of the Civil War is the only one in fact, and it serves as more of a foreshadowing warning than anything. World War II is about to break out, after all.
| Quote #6
"He sees the world as it is and he looks back thousands of years to see how it all come about. He watches the slow agglutination of capital and power and he sees its pinnacle today. He sees America as a crazy house. He sees how men have to rob their brothers in order to live. (2.4.14)
Jake's rants about the state of America could have been ripped directly out of a communist pamphlet published in the 1930s. His spiels give us insight into his character as well as his belief system, which many shared in this era.