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notes for paper - Jack drives eastward back to his life He...

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Jack      drives eastward back to his life. He stops at a filling station in New Mexico, where he  picks up an old man heading back to Arkansas. (The old man was driven to leave for  California by the Dust Bowl, but discovered that California was no better than his home.)  The old man has a facial twitch, of which he seems entirely unaware. Jack, thinking about  the twitch, decides that it is a metaphor for the randomness and causelessness of life--the  very ideas he had been soothing himself with in California, ideas which excused him from  responsibility for  Willie  and  Anne 's affair--and begins to refer to the process of life as the  "Great Twitch." Feeling detached from the rest of the world because of his new "secret knowledge," as he  calls the idea of the Great Twitch, Jack visits Willie and resumes his normal life. He sees  Adam  a few times and goes to watch him perform a prefrontal lobotomy on a schizophrenic  patient, which seems to him another manifestation of the Great Twitch. The other important idea to emerge from this chapter is that of the Great Twitch, which  Jack is ultimately forced to reject in the face of the judge' s death. The idea that all of  human life is an involuntary facial tic of which no one is aware is Jack's most comprehensive  metaphor for denying the individual's responsibility for his or her actions. If all action is like  an involuntary twitch, who could possibly be responsible? Life is simply random. Of course,  the crazy, undeniable logic of the situation following Judge Irwin's death seems just the 
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This note was uploaded on 05/01/2008 for the course BIC 2343 taught by Professor Burney during the Spring '08 term at Baylor.

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notes for paper - Jack drives eastward back to his life He...

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