The contrast between Clyde and the other characters and between opposing sensibilities in Clyde himself contributes greatly to the novel's acute irony. Guilt-ridden and self-pitying "Harry Tenet" insists in his letters to his mother that he "just went along," that he deserted the scene of the Kansas City car accident because he is legally blameless — the same reason Clyde offers (Book III) for deserting the scene of the boat accident. (Although Clyde technically did not tell Sparser to drive faster, he did remark: " . . . I wish we could hurry a little!") Though Clyde's cousin — not his uncle — regards him as a menial, Clyde discovers that it is as easy for a Griffiths to kiss a Rita in Lycurgus as it was difficult for a Griffiths to kiss a Hortense in Kansas City; this facile relationship negates his promise to his mother to avoid loose companions. The Griffithses' supper invitation saves Clyde from
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