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Posts tagged "Jonathan Franzen Freedom"

“It’s a Nice Day for a Run” and Other Strange Things to Say: Some Thoughts on Our Pursuit of Pain

“It’s a Nice Day for a Run” and Other Strange Things to Say: Some Thoughts on Our Pursuit of Pain

It was the closest thing to hell I’ve ever experienced: my whole body hurt. A dull buzz with epicenters at the soles of my feet, knees, and head: a red-hot pain emanating outward, into my neck, arms, down my back, through those muscles that I don’t know the name of that run from my shoulder blades to my bum…whatever those are, they hurt. I sat down. I stood up. I walked in aimless circles, drank water. Nothing helped. After running along the James River that day, 26.2 throbbing miles along that winding golden ribbon, the only thing I remember about…

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Patty Berglund Breaks Down (Twice)

Patty Berglund Breaks Down (Twice)

The third inner-crisis moment in our series happens to be the first of several that Patty Berglund, wife of Walter and mother of Joey, undergoes in Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom:

“Due perhaps to the nicotine, she spent the entire night sleeplessly replaying the evening in her head, trying to do as [her soon-to-be husband Walter’s best friend] Richard had demanded and get her thoughts straight. But it was an odd mental kabuki, because even as she was circling around and around the question of what kind of person she was and what her life was ultimately going to look like, one fat…

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Walter Berglund Breaks Down

Walter Berglund Breaks Down

The second in a series of three stirring crisis moments in Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. This one occurs just after activist/father/married man Walter Berglund has confessed his love for his much younger assistant Lalitha (and she for him). A fiercely principled man, the moment of weakness is the long-time-coming chink in the armor of self-righteousness and liberal virtue that has gradually walled him off from his loved ones. It’s an instance of idealism finally succumbing to reality, an honest-to-God transgression that sets off an avalanche of suppressed feeling:

He let the phone slip from his hand and lay crying for a while,…

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