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"I never was interested in politics. I'm quite unable to work upany kind of belligerent feeling. Just as I'm about to feelbelligerent about some country I meet a decent sort of chap. We goout together and lose any fighting thoughts or feelings."

"A short time ago they had a look at me on parade and got theright idea; at least they sent us to the local lunatic asylum. AndI have been there forty-two weeks. There is a good deal to be saidfor internment. It keeps you out of the saloon and helps you tokeep up with your reading. The chief trouble is that it means youare away from home for a long time. When I join my wife I hadbetter take along a letter of introduction to be on the safeside."

The article and the broadcasts dealt mainly with Wodehouse'sexperiences in internment, but they did include a very few commentson the war. The following are fair samples:

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While once doing a story on a fundamentalist family, I asked the mother to walk me through her house and tell me where she got each item on display. As she gave me the tour, it became clear that she and her husband had bought nothing with an eye to decorating their home. Nearly all the knick-knacks on the shelves were gifts from people for whom they had done kindnesses. To simply have described these “status” details, as Tom Wolfe once called them, would have missed the point. Mark Kramer, a respected author and literary journalist, writes that “truth is in the details.” A still deeper truth is in the meaning of the details.

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Neville has his dog, while the unnamed protagonist in The Road fights for the survival of him and his son, they are completely isolated in their endeavors. They live in constant fear of the antagonists, who are actively chasing and pursuing them, which has destroyed the basic concept of a home and pushed humanity to primitive way of life, where they lived in constant fear of being attacked by other beasts.

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Here McCarthy reveals his great interest in the choices his characters make. True, he may not realize that, to Proust and James, Swann’s choice to court Odette or Isabel Archer’s choice to marry Osmond are issues just as “life and death” as any murder or tryst found in McCarthy, but the quote still flatly contradicts the claim that McCarthy is a pure formalist. And does McCarthy’s work itself back up his claim? Yes. In fact, in each of his ten novels McCarthy has showed an obsession with the rare, crucial moments when people make the decisions that will define their lives forever.

At various points in intimate reporting, it’s valuable to just stop whatever you’re doing and jot such observations in your notes or dictate them into your tape recorder. But that’s the easy part. Then comes the context in which your subject exists: What does the street where the murder victim is sprawled dead look like? Or what does the room where the suspect is being questioned look like? Unfortunately you can’t know what will be important and what will not be important until later, when your story has taken shape, so you must get as much down as you can.

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There’s a touch of bravado here and more than a little irony, but Sylder’s twisting, switchbacking remarks do honestly embody the confusion attendant to the clash of worlds. Sylder understands that he broke the law and thus must be punished, but his remarks betray his deeper sense that he did nothing wrong.


Essays: The Crossing: Cormac McCarthy. In this excerpt from The Crossing, by Cormac McCarthy, the subject has killed a wolf and is presently brooding over his f

To these two moral orders a third is added when the boy vows to murder Giffords, the officer who apprehended Sylder. At first Sylder tries to casually discard the offer (“So I thank ye kindly but no thank ye, you don’t owe me nothing”), but the boy insists, forcing Sylder to lay out the case in its full confusion:

The Crossing: Cormac McCarthy / Essays / ID: 491211

Well I had a little disagreement with these fellers . . . as to whether a man can haul untaxed whiskey over tax-kept roads or whether by not payin the whiskey tax he forfeits the privilege of drivin over the roads the whiskey don’t keep up that ain’t taxed or if it was would be illegal anyway.

The Crossing Summary & Study Guide includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis, quotes, character descriptions, themes, and more

Arthur Augustus sat up dizzily. He grabbed his handkerchief andpressed it to his damaged nose. Tom Merry sat up, gasping forbreath. They looked at one another.

Cormac McCarthy.

'Bai Jove! This is a go, deah boy!' gurgled Arthur Augustus. 'Ihave been thwown into quite a fluttah! Oogh! The wottahs! Thewuffians! The feahful outsidahs! Wow!' etc., etc., etc.