Tropic of Capricorn
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cuffed him, kicked him. If on the contrary the victim were too energetic he employed the same methods, only with redoubled zest. The feelings of his subject were of no importance to him; whatever reaction he succeeded in obtaining was merely a demonstration or manifestation of the laws regulating the operation of the internal glands of secretion. The purpose of his treatment was to render the subject fit for society. But no matter how fast he worked, no matter whether he was successful or not
up about me. Soon I too would become like these objects which I venerated, a thing apart, a nonuseful member of society. I was definitely dated, that was 51 certain. And yet I was able to amuse, to instruct, to nourish. But never to be accepted, in a genuine way. When I wished to, when I had the itch, I could single out any man, in any stratum of society, and make him listen to me. I could hold him spellbound, if I chose, but, like a magician, or a sorcerer, only as long as the spirit was in me.
had really cared I wouldn't be here now writing about it: I'd have died of a broken heart, or I'd have swung for it. It was a bad experience because it taught me how to live a lie. It taught me to smile when I didn't want to smile, to work when I didn't believe in work, to live when I had no reason to go on living. Even when I had forgotten her I still retained the trick of doing what I didn't believe in. I was all chaos from the beginning, as I have said. But sometimes I got so close to the
would have struggled to invest her promise with a crumb of faith. I wanted desperately everything that was promised me, and if, upon reflection I realized that it was dearly impossible, I nevertheless tried in my own way to grope for a means of making these promises realizable. That people could make promises without ever having the least intention of fulfilling them was something unimaginable to me. Even when I was most cruelly deceived I still believed; I found that something 141
letters he sent me. Was that just? he asks me blandly. Of course not. I remember vaguely the last letter he sent me from the Cat and Dog Hospital on the Grand Concourse, where he was an attendant. He said he repented that he had resigned his post "but it was on account of his father being too strict over him, not giving him any recreation or outside pleasure". "I'm twenty-five now," he wrote, "and I don't think I should ought to be sleeping no more with my father, do you? I know you are said to