How we cite our quotes:
"There isn’t anything I can do about it," Ole Andreson said.
"I’ll tell you what they were like."
"I don’t want to know what they were like," Ole Andreson said. He looked at the wall. (180-2)
Ole’s passivity is contrasted with Nick’s willingness to act. Part of what makes this scene tragic is Nick’s eagerness to stop the murder.
"The only thing is," he said, talking toward the wall, "I just can’t make up my mind to go out. I been here all day."
On the surface, it looks as though Ole has resigned himself to fate. But the fact that he hasn’t yet gone out to meet that fate is an indication that he hasn’t accepted it completely. In actuality, he still wants to live, even if he is too passive to fight for it.
The cook opened the door from the kitchen when he heard Nick’s voice. (215)
"I don’t even listen to it," he said and shut the door.
The cook’s inaction is very different than Ole’s. He’s decided not to be involved and actively removes himself from the situation, whereas Ole accepts his death but passively avoids it.