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Quotes

Quote #1

Sometimes I think that if I had to choose between an ear of corn or making love to a woman, I'd choose the corn. Not that I wouldn't love to have a final roll in the hay – I am a man yet, and some things never die – but the thought of those sweet kernels bursting between my teeth sure sets my mouth to watering. It's fantasy, I know that. Neither will happen. I just like to weight the options, as though I were standing in front of Solomon: a final roll in the hay or an ear of corn. What a wonderful dilemma. (1.24)

Here, Jacob weighs two sensual pleasures. At his stage of life, both seem equally delectable and unattainable. The description of the corn, with "those sweet kernels bursting between my teeth" wouldn't be hard to transfer over to a sexual encounter, and maybe that's the point. He can't have either, but thinking about them gives him the same kind of vicarious pleasure.

Quote #2

I am, as far as I can tell, the oldest male virgin on the face of the earth. Certainly no one else my age is willing to admit it. […] Not too long ago some of the guys on my football team paid a woman a quarter apiece to let them do it, one after the other, in the cattle barn. As much as I had hoped to leave my virginity behind at Cornell, I couldn't bring myself to take part. I simply couldn't do it. (2.3)

Jacob is brutally honest here. He appears to consider his ongoing virginity as a kind of failure. However, his state also reflects his honesty. He suspects there might be other "old […] male virgins" out there, but they're all pretending they've gotten some. Jacob has standards that he won't lower for anything, even the much-desired event of losing his virginity. He won't lie and he won't participate in mass prostitution. Good values to live by, we'd say.

Quote #3

I'm not sure how it happens – do I reach for her? does she reach for me? – but next thing I know she's in my arms and we're waltzing, dipping, and skipping in front of the low-slung rope. As we twirl, I catch sight of Rosie's raised trunk and smiling face. (10.6)

This isn't sex, but it's kind of a precursor to it. Jacob and Marlena are magically drawn to each other in this scene. Jacob doesn't know why; all he knows is that somehow "she's in my arms" and they're pulled to each other like magnets. Then they dance together, freely and joyously, and Rosie the elephant approves.

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