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Quotes

Quote #1

[John:] If I got all involved, I'd forget I had lit the bomb, and then even I'd be surprised when it went off. Of course, I was never as surprised as the poor guys who were in the boys' john on the first floor sneaking a cigarette, because the boys' john is right next to the Dean's office and a whole flock of gestapo would race in there and blame them. Sure they didn't do it, but it's pretty hard to say you're innocent when you're caught with a lungful of rich, mellow tobacco smoke. When the Dean catches you smoking, it really may be hazardous to your health. I smoke one with a recessed filter myself. (1)

John and Lorraine's high school seems to be a place of continuous conflict between the kids and the administration, which John refers to as the "gestapo."

Quote #2

[Lorraine:] And he drinks and smokes more than any boy I ever heard of. […] I tried to explain to him how dangerous it was, particularly smoking, and even went to the trouble of finding a case history similar to his in a book by Sigmund Freud. I almost had him convinced that smoking was an infantile, destructive activity when he pointed out a picture of Freud smoking a cigar on the book's cover.
"If Freud smokes, why can't I?"
"Freud doesn't smoke anymore," I told him. "He's dead." (2)

This humorous, ironic passage demonstrates Lorraine's earnest desire to educate John about the dangers of smoking, and John's ability to use his charm, humor, and intelligence to win any discussion or argument. (Freud was, in fact, a heavy cigar smoker, and died of cancer of the jaw and throat.)

Quote #3

[Lorraine:] Although I didn't know John and his family until two years ago when I moved into the neighborhood, from what I've been able to gather I think his father was a compulsive alcoholic. I've spent hours trying to analyze the situation, and the closest I've been able to come to a theory is that his father set a bad example at an age when John was impressionable. I think his father made it seem as though drinking alcoholic beverages was a sign of maturity. This particular sign of maturity ended up giving his father sclerosis of the liver, so he doesn't drink anymore, but John does. (2)

Lorraine's analysis of John's father's drinking influencing John seems correct, especially in light of what we learn later about John's father encouraging ten-year-old John to drink beer. (For Lorraine's, and later, John's use of the term "sclerosis," see the chapter-by-chapter plot summary.)

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