Study Guide

Herzog Appearances

By Saul Bellow

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Let's face it: Herzog is a superficial guy who judges men and women alike by their physical appearance. That doesn't mean he's a bad dude, but it does mean that he makes a lot of bad decisions based on limited information of the course of Herzog.

For example, if he'd thought more about Daisy and Madeleine's personalities instead of just thinking about how smokin' they were, he might not have two ugly divorces under his belt. That's not to say that Herzog should specifically be with someone he has no attraction to—his girlfriends Sono and Ramona are both beautiful and well-suited for his personality. But if anything, Herzog seems frightened by these women. It's almost as if they're a little too perfect for him, so he runs away.

Questions About Appearances

  1. Do you think Herzog is shallow? Why or why not?
  2. How often is Herzog right about the people he judges based on their appearance? How often is he wrong?
  3. Do you blame Herzog's focus on looks for the failure of his two marriages? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In Herzog, we learn that no matter how far we try to advance as a culture, people will always judge one another based on appearances.

Herzog reminds us that those who judge others by their appearances will always be miserable in the long run.

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