Study Guide

More Than Human Analysis

  • Genre

    Science Fiction

    Hold on Shmoopers, we're about to get all professor-y and go full intellectual on everyone's favorite genre: Science Fiction. Please don't cry. It will be okay. We promise.

    More Than Human speculates about evolution and progress. The novel ponders what might happen if evolution headed in a mental direction, rather than a physical one. It considers both thoughts and passions to be products of the mind—you know, mental stuff. So the characters get to have cool mind-powers like teleportation and telekinesis, and the book shows where all their passionate mind-merging and thinking might lead: to an advanced, ethical society.

    Now, this book differs from many other sci-fi books in that it mostly focuses on the "soft" science of psychology rather than "hard" sciences like chemistry or physics. That places Theodore Sturgeon closer to authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, who emphasized the soft science of anthropology, rather than, say, Arthur C. Clarke, who took pains to accurately depict the nitty-gritty details of hard sciences.

    Sturgeon was more interested in making philosophical—you might even say spiritual—points than in getting his science facts correct. He once praised the genre for giving him the freedom to ask unusual questions.

    It's worth pointing out that many definitions of science fiction require works to be based on strict science. Today, people might consider "psionic" mind powers more the stuff of fantasy fiction than of science fiction—which is a major difference, apparently. But the novel was written in 1953, when influential sci-fi editors, such as John W. Campbell, had shaped the genre such that speculation about psionics was considered legitimate scientific musing. We're not complaining.

  • What's Up With the Title?

    This book is all about evolution. So yeah, according to More Than Human, we might develop psionic mind-powers next, like teleportation or telepathy. Whatever mind-powers we develop—psionic or philosophical—will advance us to a stage above our current Homo sapiens status, making us, you guessed it, More Than Human. The gestalt life form, the single creature that is greater than the sum of its parts, is the novel's example of that next step up. Are we human, or are we gestalt?

  • What's Up With the Ending?

    The last lines tell us Gerry humbly joins the company of Homo Gestalt. Under Gerry, the gestalt behaved amorally—murderous and mean—for it had no society of similar beings from which to receive moral instruction.

    Thanks to Hip, however, Gerry—and the gestalt—learns an ethic for a unique individual. It requires faith rather than obedience. Thanks to his emotional bond with Hip, Gerry places faith in the ethic that he should protect, inspire, and revere humanity rather than attack it.

    That's why all the others who make up the rest of the Homo Gestalt species suddenly contact him via telepathy (Surprise!) in the very last pages. They'd blocked him off or put him in quarantine because he was too dangerous to everyone else. But now that he's learned Hip's ethic, they invite him to join their club, and now that he's a good guy, he humbly joins them.

    This provides closure to the novel, because Gerry and his gestalt have now matured beyond its childhood formation stage under Lone and its vicious, murderous adolescence under Gerry to become an adult member of an advanced, truly good society. The Homo Gestalt society, we learn, guards all humanity, whether of the Homo sapiens or gestalt variety.

    The ending also reveals some cool things about Homo Gestalt.They tell Gerry multiplicity is their first characteristic, meaning each is a diverse and discrete gestalt, but unity is their second, meaning they bond and belong together—no more of that loneliness that plagued the characters in Part 1. Homo Gestalt will let thousands die if it means millions might live, and they can't be corrupted because their faith in their social morality holds them together.

    Sounds swell, right? The ending transcends the understanding of morals, society, and ethics we'd been given earlier in the novel. It leaves us with a new society, Homo Gestalt, with its own social morality. The very last sentence is Gerry, now humble, joining the new society. All's well that ends well.

  • Setting

    Rural 1950s United States

    This novel has a very vague setting. It's as if the book is so busy keeping track of all the characters' out-of-order memories and mind-powers that the setting has to go on the back-burner. Don't worry. We'll make sense of it for you.

    Where Exactly?

    A few clues, such as references to Pennsylvania and the ROTC, show we're in the United States. But we don't know much more than that. We have woods. We have a mansion in the woods, and a cave-like thing that Lone turns into a shelter. There's a farm nearby that later becomes an anti-aircraft range, and there are lots of pretty paragraphs talking about how beautiful nature is. But that's about all we've got to work with.

    Well, we can tell Miss Kew lives in some sort of city, because there are taxis, but we learn next to nothing about it. The only function of Miss Kew's house as a setting seems to be to point out how proper and tidy it is compared to the gestalt shelter in the woods, or how both her house and Mr. Kew's have libraries (see Alicia Kew's "Character Analysis" for more about that).

    So why all this Mother Nature? Remember that the book is a sci-fi exploration of what the next step in human evolution might be. The back-to-basics rural environments provide a good laboratory, so to speak, to watch the gestalt life form grow and make meaning out of what we see. The rural environments, after all, keep it relatively isolated from outside influences.

    It's only near the end of the book that we learn that Gerry worries about what government spies or military forces would do if they were to find out about the anti-gravity generator the gestalt invented. But such interference remains a mere possibility that's only briefly mentioned.

    Okay, If Not Where, Then When?

    The novel, written in 1953, seems set shortly after World War II, which formally concluded in 1945. A few clues, including brief references to German soldiers (1.19.8), Dwight Eisenhower (2.2.51), and atomic war (3.21.26), suggest that.

    What's the big secret? Why doesn't the book just tell us? Again, maybe it doesn't because time doesn't make much of a difference, as long as the gestalt grows with few outside factors affecting it. The novel focuses on how the characters behave either alone or while belonging with each other. It isn't comparing, say, two different cities or different generations.

    Anything Else?

    We do have a pretty clear distinction between nature and indoor settings in this book. Over and over, the natural world is described as beautiful. Its beauty has a positive effect on the characters, like when it inspires Evelyn (1.2.9) or surrounds Hip's healing (3.3.19-20):

    Outside an oriole made a long slender note, broke it, and let the fragments fall through the shining air. A stake-bed truck idled past, busily shaking the string of cowbells on its back, while one hoarse man and one with a viola voice flanked it afoot, chanting. In one window came a spherical sound with a fly at its heart and at the other appeared a white kitten. Out by the kitten went the fly and the kitten reared up and batted at it, twisted and sprang down out of sight as if it had meant all along to leave; only a fool would have thought it had lost its balance.

    And in the room was quiet and a watchfulness which was without demand, except perhaps a guarding against leaving anything unwatched. The girl sat with her hands aslumber and her eyes awake, while a pipe-cleaner man called Healing was born in all his cores, all his marrow, taking the pose of his relaxed body, resting and growing a little and resting again and growing. (3.3.19-20).

    The novel doesn't straight-up say that nature heals Hip, but we can certainly associate the two by placing them side by side.

    So while outdoors in the novel is all trees and freedom, indoors is usually something else. Indoor settings include Hip's jail cell, Mr. Kew's fortress-like mansion, and Miss Kew's way-too-tidy house. Lone's shelter in the woods is a kind of halfway point between the two. But generally, indoors is opposed to outdoors in this novel. To oversimplify: outdoors good, indoors bad.

    For example, when Hip is going into Mr. Kew's mansion to heal Gerry with philosophy, he thinks of the property as a "whole area [...] in prison" (3.6.4) and thinks of walking into the building as entering into "a great sick mouth" (3.6.12). Let's hope it brushed its teeth.

    And check out where Hip and Gerry have their final philosophical showdown. It's in a room "like a giant greenhouse, fifty yards wide, forty deep; the huge panes overhead curved down and down and met the open lawn—it was more a park—at the side away from the house. After the closeness and darkness of what he had already seen it was shocking but it built up in him a great exhilaration" (3.16.59).

    A greenhouse is indoors but lets sun in so the flowers can grow. Similarly, Gerry grows into a mature gestalt able to join the Homo Gestalt society in this "glass room," as the first line of the final section says (3.21.1).

  • Tough-o-Meter

    (6) Tree Line

    Sturgeon's Modernist techniques can make things a little complicated. The story is told out of order as characters fight to mature by processing their memories. An important character pops up and then disappears for a hundred pages. Gerry remembers his and someone else's memories out of order, and neither he nor his psychotherapist can figure everything out exactly, and by this time, neither can you. Sturgeon doesn't give you many hints.

    But you probably won't put the book down in favor of Facebook, because the sci-fi content is cool, and you really can get the overall gist reading it straight through once or maybe twice. It's also short enough to read over a long weekend. But if you try too hard to understand precisely what's going on, More Than Human can become More Than a Pain. Don't worry; we were crazy enough to figure it all out for you.

  • Writing Style

    Lyricism, Terseness, Stream of Consciousness, Lengthy Internal Monologue

    Stugeon's writing style is like a chameleon: It changes often. In fact, it's one of the most unusual facets of More Than Human. Here are four common ways Sturgeon achieves his effects.


    What's lyrical language? It's hard to define. You could say that lyrical sentences tend to be in the style of Romanticism. Some see Romanticism as a sign of good style, but others find it too "sentimental." We feel an example serves best. Here's Sturgeon describing nature's beauty, one of the forces that encourages the gestalt to grow:

    It was spring, the part of spring where the bursting is done, the held-in pressures of desiccated sap-veins and gum-sealed buds are gone, and all the world's in a rush to be beautiful. The air was heavy and sweet; it lay upon lips until they parted, pressed them until they smiled, entered boldly to beat in the throat like a second heart. It was air with a puzzle to it, for it was still and full of the colors of dreams, all motionless; yet it had a hurry to it. The stillness and the hurry were alive and laced together and how could that be? That was the puzzle. (1.2.8)

    A variety of stylistic techniques make the lyricism happen here. Notice the precision of some of the language: desiccated sap-veins, gum-sealed buds. These specific images are juxtaposed to more abstract declarations: all the world's in a rush to be beautiful. Notice the personification of the air, and the imaginative rendition of the air as a puzzle. Finally, the long sentences and semicolons allow Sturgeon to create grander feelings than short, terse sentences would typically allow.

    How does the lyricism fit into the novel? We have an advanced life form growing in a rural, natural setting and evolving into an ethical creature that joins a society dedicated to protect humanity. Why shouldn't it be described in beautiful, poetic language? Others might find it corny or distracting, but that's their problem, not ours.


    Lyricism isn't the only trick up Sturgeon's sleeve. Check out this single sentence that opens Part 2:

    I finally got in to see this Stern. (2.1.1)

    We already know the narrator: someone with a bad attitude who seems to be in a hurry. He finally got to Stern. Stern is this guy, some punk the narrator has to deal with. He got in there, a straightforward, simple, and kind of aggressive way to describe entering a place. Last but not least, the sentence starts with "I": this character, whoever he is (Gerry), is going to be the subject, and he's going to be bringing his attitude with him.

    All this terseness does a good job at expressing Gerry's bad attitude. It lets us know the hateful head of the second version of the gestalt means business, like when he gives the thousand-dollar bill to Stern, and will mete out punishment, as he does to Hip in Part 3.

    Stream of Consciousness

    Stream of consciousness is the direct output of a mind without the filters of structure or the need to be understood. Near the very start of the novel, we get a rendition of the wordless communications of babies:

    "Without words: Warm when the wet comes for a little but not for long enough. (Sadly): Never dark again. A feeling of pleasure. A sense of subtle crushing and Take away the pink, the scratchy. Wait, wait, you can go back, yes, you can go back. Different, but almost as good. (Sleep feelings): Yes, that's it! That's the—oh! (Alarm): You've gone too far, come back, come back, come— (A twisting, a sudden cessation; and one less "voice.") . . . It all rushes up, faster, faster, carrying me. (Answer): No, no. Nothing rushes. It's still: something pulls you down on to it, that's all. (Fury): They don't hear us, stupid, stupid . . . They do . . . They don't, only crying, only voices." (1.1.11)

    These are babies communicating with one another telepathically and wordlessly, kind of like Stewie on Family Guy. It's written in words, but we're told at the start of the passage that the italicized streams are really without words.

    This passage takes the literal stream of consciousness of babies and outputs what it would be were it capable of being expressed in words. That's why you get a string of words such as "Warm when the wet comes for a little but not for long enough"; that might not make the best sentence in a book report, but it describes how a baby might think if its thoughts were written out, like the screenplay from Baby Geniuses, only better.

    How does stream of consciousness fit into the novel? It pulls us into the sci-fi telepathy. The passage gives us a representation of what telepathy must be like. That's our theory, anyway. If you have a better one, feel free to telepathically transmit it to us. We'll be waiting.

    Lengthy Internal Monologue

    Sturgeon's stylistic techniques also include making use of long passages of internal monologue. In other words, thinking to yourself for a long time. But don't worry—these passages aren't just boring thoughts working toward some boring conclusion. Their syntax (like, grammar stuff) fills them up with emotion, showing how passion affects our logic and how logic affects our passions. Check out some of Hip's lengthy internal monologue when he regains much of his ability to remember:

    In the morning, he thought comfortably, I'll go see my halfwit. But you know what, I think I'll take an hour off just remembering things. I won the sack race at the Sunday school picnic and they awarded me a khaki handkerchief. I caught three pikes before breakfast at the Scout camp, trolling, paddling the canoe and holding the fishing line in my teeth; the biggest of the fish cut my mouth when he struck. I hate rice pudding. I love Bach and liverwurst and the last two weeks in May and deep clear eyes. (3.13.2)

    The sentences roll on and on as he thinks, showing his enthusiasm for remembering. They're filled with specific details, showing the clarity he's achieved after working hard on his memory with Janie's help.

  • Bleshing

    "Bleshing" is a neologism—an invented word, like webinar and Brangelina.
    Bleshing expresses how the gestalt members live and act together when they're doing well. It could be described as a certain type of improvisatory group collaboration, where everyone forms a whole greater than its parts, such as when a band of musicians plays different instruments to make the same song.

    But wait, there's more. Bleshing conveys a sense that the individual musicians, to continue with our previous example, all have an identity in common even as they remain distinct. Just as Lone and Janie and the rest all are the gestalt even though they're in separate bodies and minds:

    Bleshing, that was Janie's word. She said Baby told it to her. She said it meant everyone all together being something, even if they all did different things. Two arms, two legs, one body, one head, all working together, although a head can't walk and arms can't think. Lone said maybe it was a mixture of 'blending' and 'meshing,' but I don't think he believed that himself. It was a lot more than that.

    So, bleshing expresses the unique way the gestalt lives together as an advanced life form.

  • The Anti-Gravity Generator

    Gadzooks! What is this amazing, astounding invention? It's nothing short of an anti-gravity generator, which will complete all of science by adding mind-powers to Unified Field Theory! OH. EM. GEE.

    You get the point of the symbol now, right? It represents the biggest scientific discovery possible. Janie explains:

    It would turn the whole world upside down, worse than the industrial revolution [...] If things went one way we'd have such a war, you wouldn't believe it. If they went the other way, science would go too far, too fast. (3.14.30)

    Yet they only invented it because Lone wanted to help Mr. Prodd move his truck. The farmer couldn't afford a horse, so you know, how about make him an anti-gravity generator to lighten the truck enough to get it out of the mud? Lone did it, the novel tells us, "only because an old man who had taught him something he could not name was mad with bereavement and needed to work and could not afford a horse" (1.28.36) Check out that whole paragraph for the book quite bluntly telling you what you're supposed to take away from the invention.

    Then Hip spends most of his adult life tracking it down, and, after he loses it, tracking down its inventor. Yep, that's Part 3 of the novel in twenty words or less.

    The point is, the anti-gravity generator is such an amazing gizmo that it motivates Hip to persist in his search despite the setbacks and shows how intelligent the gestalt can be. And did you notice it's the only piece of advanced scientific technology shown in this whole science fiction novel? That's because the passions behind the invention and the gestalt itself—belonging—are what's important in the story.

  • The Aluminum Tube

    Remember that foot long, flexible aluminum tube Janie keeps shoving at Hip and leaving in his shoes and food? It shows just how much Gerry's made Hip forget about his past:

    It was as if [the tube] were transparent or even invisible to him. (3.6.3)

    The more Hip remembers his past, the more he physically grabs onto the tube. He first finds it in the hidden shelter in the woods, and it's the same type of gear he touched on the anti-gravity generator. That's why it's so important to him: it symbolizes his goal. It's his forgotten memory (thanks Gerry) and his goal combined into one object.

  • Narrator Point of View

    First Person (Central Narrator); Third Person Limited Omniscient; Third Person Objective

    The narrative technique in this book is quite tricky. But it all boils down to either 1) first person central narrator, 2) third person limited, 3) third person objective, or 4) moving between third person limited and third person objective. Okay, ready? Here we go.

    First Person Central Narrator

    The first person passages are easy to spot—they have the word "I" everywhere. Part 2, for example, is basically from Gerry's first person point of view as he discusses his memories with Stern the psychotherapist.

    Just be careful: Gerry has that wacky telepathic probing power. When he remembers Miss Kew's memories, those are described in the first person from Miss Kew's point of view, even though they're still happening in Gerry's head. He probed her mind in her library and took the contents of her memories about Lone into his mind and is perceiving them from her point of view. Kind of like Being John Malkovich.

    The central part of central narrator just means the "I" is the star of the show, not some guy on the sidelines like Nick Carroway in The Great Gatsby. That would be a peripheral narrator.

    Third Person Limited

    The third person passages are mostly limited omniscient ones, meaning they stick to the point of view of a particular character, such as Hip or Evelyn, and let us into that particular character's thoughts or feelings. These passages are straightforward, along the lines of: She pressed the button. She couldn't believe the machine poured out a million dollars. She pressed the button again.

    Let's look at a real example from the book. This one is talking about Hip:

    His bit of tubing caught his eye and he picked it up and he sat down in the big chair. It drove the embarrassing moment away; brought back the greater urgency. He had to see Janie. [...] it was probably hopeless [...] He lay back. (3.8.28)

    We get some action from his point of view, that he picks up the tubing and sits down, and then we get his internal thoughts about seeing Janie but deciding to wait, and then some more of his action: he lies down. In this case, it's so straightforward that it forms a pattern: stimulus, thought, response.

    Third Person Objective

    This is the bird's eye point of view that sees everything except the internal lives of the characters. These passages are usually pretty short, a paragraph or two, but not always. Examples include the description of Lone healing during his first week at the Prodd's (1.9.11) and the description of the wordless communication of babies (1.1.11). The third person objective technique allows Sturgeon to describe something, such as time passing, without worrying what any one particular character thinks or feels about it—that'd get pretty tiring.

    For example, consider this paragraph that transitions from Lone being lonely in the woods to Janie being lonely in her woods:

    It was too late even for the copse's nocturnal habitants. It was cold at the hidden foot of the dwarf oak and as dark as the chambers of a dead man's heart. (1.21.19)

    Those certainly aren't Janie's thoughts, since she's around five years old at this time and probably wouldn't be thinking in such complex metaphors, so third person objective it is.

    Moving Between Third Person Limited and Third Person Objective

    Another way to look at the third person sections of this novel are to consider the narrator's perspective as a camera on a boom. The camera can move closer to the character and pick up some of the character's thoughts (which would be the third person limited) or it can stretch farther away and see through the character's own eyes (the third person objective).

    Consider the beginning of Part 3, for example. It's from Janie's point of view, yet we know her eye color: "She had gray-green eyes" (3.1.2).

    A few paragraphs later, we get a big transition paragraph describing both the sheriff and Janie walking through the jailhouse. The camera, so to speak, has zoomed out to let us see both from a distance:

    The walls were steel plates like a ship's bulkhead, studded with rivets, painted a faded cream above and mustard color below. Their footsteps echoed [...] They stepped through [...] they came into a barnlike area, concrete on walls and ceiling. Built around it was a sort of balcony; under and over this were the cells, steel walled, fronted by close-set bars. (3.1.21)

    (Yeah, that's a pretty long description of a jailhouse, and we even shortened it. But it was 1953 and The Shawshank Redemption hadn't come out in movie theaters yet, so maybe many readers weren't as familiar with what jails looked like.)

    So we've gone from Janie's point of view, but objective enough to see her eye color, to an even further zoom-out transition paragraph to see the whole jail setting. We're switching narrative techniques faster than Lady Gaga changes her hairstyle.

    And we don't stop there. Next, we zoom all the way in to third person limited to get ahold of some of Janie's internal decision-making process: "She waited and when he had nothing else to offer, she turned and called the sheriff" (3.1.49).

    So the third person camera moves all around the stage, sometimes far away enough to see the whole shebang, and sometimes close enough in to pick up the focal character's thoughts or feelings.

    What Does It All Mean?

    Why can't Sturgeon just hold the camera straight on one character? Shaky hands? Short attention span?

    The answer? None of the above. The tricky narrative technique expresses the fragmented yet unified nature of the gestalt life form.

    Remember, the gestalt is made up of distinct individuals working together; they all have separate bodies. Just think of when Janie hides from Gerry for most of Part 3. She hides because the two have different points of view on what the gestalt should be. People don't have to see things the same way to belong to the same society or, in this book, the same life form.

    The narrative technique in this novel does get a little confusing. Maybe that's part of the reason Stephen King compared Theodore Sturgeon to William Faulkner. In the literary world, that's quite the compliment.

    • Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

      Falling Under the Shadow of the Dark Power

      The five characters who form the first version of the gestalt—Lone, Janie, the twins Bonnie and Beanie, and Baby—come together and live in the hidden shelter. They've got a pretty decent thing going until Baby rather bluntly informs the head that he, Lone, is too stupid for their life to evolve further. What's a lonely gestalt life form to do? They are falling under the shadow of isolation, the opposite of the belonging vibe that forms when they're doing well and bleshing (see "Symbols" if you forgot what that means).

      The Threat Seems to Recede

      Conveniently, Lone gets killed by a falling tree in a flash flood. With Gerry as the new head honcho, the second version of the gestalt moves in with Miss Kew for the security a dead Lone can't provide. Despite a few setbacks, everyone is happy and wearing clean clothes for the first time in forever. They're not isolated anymore, right? Everything seems swell.

      Imprisonment in a State of Living Death

      But Miss Kew's house is just too orderly for the gestalt organism to thrive. Her rules begin to destroy it, so rather than, say, make a compromise, Gerry ups and murders her. He talks with a psychotherapist about it, but decides morality is for losers less evolved than he and the rest of his gestalt. That's why he puts mental blocks on Hip the hero, imprisoning him in a state of living death. The poor guy can't remember who he is or what he was looking for. He's completely isolated. He's even literally imprisoned in a jail cell. Can't get more imprisoned than that.

      The Dark Power Almost Triumphs

      Janie helps Hip remember who he is, but not fast enough. Gerry locates them before Hip can recall enough about his life to be prepared to confront him. Hip and Janie have no choice but to try anyway. Their plan to keep Gerry in check by threatening to sabotage his parts fails when Gerry reveals he knows his parts can be replaced. The immortal Gerry, his commanding eyes spinning, moves toward Hip to destroy his mind. Yikes!

      Miraculous Redemption

      A twin suddenly tackles Gerry. Hip ties up the head of the gestalt and blindfolds him. He develops an ethic in his mind, then removes the blindfold and tells Gerry to probe his brain. Gerry reads the ethic and converts to the belief that he should help humanity instead of all that other stuff he was doing—you know, murdering Miss Kew, hurting other people such as Hip. Miracles arrive in the form of Hip getting to join the gestalt—seriously, how does that even work?—and the other Homo Gestalt show up telepathically to invite Gerry's crew into their wonderful society.

    • Plot Analysis

      Exposition (Initial Situation)

      The gestalt Has to Start For Action To Really Start

      Five lonely weirdos—Lone, Janie, the twins Bonnie and Beanie, and Baby—join together in a hidden shelter, forming the first version of the gestalt. It's like a hodgepodge Codename: Kids Next Door. Yeah, a few problems befall the characters while they're joining up, but this is all just opening exposition, because the book's main focus is the whole gestalt organism, whose troubles don't really start until it's joined together and grown up some.

      Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

      Things Get Worse. Like, a Lot Worse

      Now we're rolling. The gestalt, with Gerry as the new head, lives at Miss Kew's house, murders her, decides it doesn't need morality, and hurts Hip as he struggles to track Gerry down. Sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. This is the rising action because these complications make the super-creature increasingly vicious and a menace to ordinary humans. Like, for real. Meanwhile Hip the hero is struggling to find the gestalt. His struggle might save the day. Then we can all have ice cream.

      Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

      Check Out My Philosophy

      Intellectual showdown. Hip and Gerry finally confront one another—but agree on the ethic Hip invents. This is the climax because the opposing forces have finally come to a solution. Can we have the ice cream now?

      Falling Action

      Humble Pie

      No, we can't have the ice cream yet. We wait as the new ethic makes the characters humble, and Janie invites Hip to become a member of the gestalt as its conscience. We've got the falling action here because the big bang climax is over, but the characters are busy becoming humble enough for the ultimate resolution to arrive. We are busy waiting for ice cream.

      Resolution (Denouement)

      Homo Gestalt Society Is Awesome

      Now that everyone's super-humble and Hip belongs to the group, the rest of Homo Gestalt introduce themselves to Gerry, and Gerry decides to join his gestalt up with them. This is the resolution because now the lonely super-creature has a society. And we eat our fictional ice cream. Cookie dough. Obviously.

    • Three-Act Plot Analysis

      Act I

      Lone, Janie, the twins Bonnie and Beanie, and Baby join up, creating the gestalt. But when Lone dies, the others' steady life in the hidden shelter comes to an end, because they're too young to take care of themselves. Gerry, becoming the new head of the gestalt, leads them to Miss Kew's house, seeking security. If this were a movie, people would definitely stop checking their cell phones at about this point in the plot.

      Act II

      Serious action is underway. The uptight rules at Miss Kew's house begin destroying the gestalt. They successfully struggle to stay together, getting Baby back and desegregating the twins. But Gerry murders Miss Kew. Bam. The next day he undergoes psychotherapy to understand why. He decides it was self-preservation for the gestalt. Remembering that he's a super-creature, he also decides that he doesn't need morality, just self-preservation and fun. Uh oh. To defend the gestalt, Gerry puts mental blocks on Hip the hero, rendering him unable to track down the gestalt. Things look grim.

      Act III

      Janie comes to Hip's aid. She helps him remember what happened to him so he can undo the blocks Gerry put on him. What a pal. They go to Gerry in an effort to make him feel ashamed so that he'll begin behaving morally. Sounds risky. But Hip invents an ethic in his mind and tricks Gerry into telepathically reading it. The ethic makes Gerry humble, and Hip is invited to join the gestalt. The rest of Homo Gestalt, satisfied with the progress of Gerry's gestalt, invite them into their society. Party time!

    • Allusions

      Literary and Philosophical References

      • Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch, Venus in Furs (1.23.3)
      • Mickey Spillane, My Gun Is Quick (1.23.3)
      • Ivan Bloch (1.23.3) A psychologist who proposed that sexuality be studied scientifically.
      • King Arthur (2.9.35)
      • Hippocrates (3.6.2) An ancient Greek doctor regarded as the father of western medicine.
      • Gorgon (3.16.76) Greek mythological figure whose ugly appearance turned people to stone.

      Historical References

      • Model T (1.9.23) The first mass-produced automobile.
      • Heinies (1.19.8) Early 20th century derogatory slang for German soldier.
      • Sudso (2.1.19) A brand of soap.
      • Eisenhower (2.2.51) General who led U.S. forces in World War II and later became president.
      • Victorian (2.11.6) A person from 19th century Britain said to have uptight, prudish morals.
      • Oerlikons (3.9.4) Anti-aircraft cannons made by Oerlikon Contraves.
      • Toscanini (3.10.3) Italian conductor with perfect pitch.
      • Bach (3.13.2). Classical composer from the Baroque era.
      • Papa Haydn (3.21.11) Classical composer from the Baroque era.
      • William Morris (3.21.11) British writer.
      • Rossettis (3.21.11) Family with cultural influence in Italy.
      • Enrico Fermi (3.21.11) Physicist.
      • Wanda Landowska (3.21.11) Harpischordist.
      • Henry Ford (3.21.11). Inventor of the mass-produced automobile.

      Pop Culture References

      • "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton" (1.9.23) Song based on a peaceful poem about a river in Scotland.
      • "Home on the Range" (1.9.23) Patriotic song.
      • Gibsons (1.15.6) Alcoholic beverage popular during Prohibition.
      • Crown Jewels (2.8.3) Any royal jewels.
      • Waldorf (3.1.22) A luxury hotel.
      • Amazon (3.21.26) Longest river on the planet.

      Other References

      • Neanderthal (2.11.61) An extinct species of human.
      • Central Intelligence (3.14.34) Covert spy agency of the U.S. federal government, aka CIA.
      • United Nations (3.14.35) Global intergovernmental organization.
      • Eohippus (3.14.82) An extinct species of horse.
      • Percheron (3.14.82) A horse species.