What was really important to me was to show that writing is not always about aggression (as we are sometimes taught in school, whether our teachers are conscious of this or not). Writing is sometimes about constructing kinds of relationships that are bearable. And certainly for Harry, all the things that he does with language and reading are about having relationships that are bearable. Loudermilk’s vanity, his vicissitude, his ultimate emptiness in fact allows Harry to relate to him. If Loudermilk were actually present, that would just be unbearable for Harry.


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