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MonkeyNotes-Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
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After breakfast with his father, Wilhelm, bewildered and frightened, accompanies Tamkin to the brokerage house to watch the market returns. It is a foreign and fearful world to him of bright lights, machines, and whirring tumblers. His fear, of losing his savings and from not understanding the market, sparks off two reflections. First, his mind escapes to a peaceful moment on a farm he once owned upstate, near Roxbury. It is the kind of existence he longs for again. Second, he recalls an experience he had in an underground corridor beneath Times Square, where Wilhelm had felt a closeness to and a tremendous love for all people. These are the kind of emotions he wants to feel again.


Over lunch, Tamkin increases Wilhelm's fear and isolation. He makes Wilhelm realize that his father has totally turned his back on him, his sons have been turned against, and Margaret has deserted him. He has no one to turn to and fears the worst. When he returns to the brokerage house, he learns that both his commodities, lard and rye, have plummeted, wiping out his investment and his last penny in the world. In desperation he tries to find Tamkin, who has fled town; he also approaches his father and phones Margaret, both of whom reject him. He is truly alone in the world and drowning in his suffering.

Rushing out into the street in total panic, Wilhelm encounters "the inexhaustible current of millions of every race and kind pouring out". He is swept along by the crowd and pushed into a funeral parlor. When he looks at the unknown dead man, he cries softly for the loss of another human being; he sobs for himself and his lost opportunities; and he weeps for a lost, sick humanity that cannot connect with one another. Fortunately, the tears are a catharsis for Wilhelm, a baptism into a new life of hope and possibility.

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MonkeyNotes-Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
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