| Quote #1
I keep pedaling despite the weariness and the pain [... ] "Take it easy," I tell myself. "Take it easy. One mile at a time." (1.14-15)
Adam is compassionate toward himself at the beginning of his journey; he speaks to himself as he would speak to a friend. Over the course of the bike ride, though, he becomes more self-critical and loses compassion. What changes?
| Quote #2
I look at the telephone in the booth with disgust. Not disgust for the phone but disgust at myself. I have lost all track of time. (9.2)
Self-loathing is a form of suffering we see far too much of in today's youth culture. We're not all orphans, but we all know what it's like to feel down on ourselves.
| Quote #3
My stomach is tight and tense. The hamburger I ate in Howard Johnson's has turned into a rock in my stomach. I should have ordered something easy to digest: soup or chowder. And I should have taken the medicine with me. [...] A headache has begun: iron bars beneath the flesh of my forehead. (9.5)
We can't relate to everything that happens to Adam – Shmoop, for one, has never been interrogated by government authorities, for example – but one thing everyone can relate to is physical pain. Which is worse, mental anguish or physical pain?