Test
Download document

ROTH, Philip



Portnoy’s Complaint

…..
American society [...] not only sanctions gross and unfair relations among men, but it encourages them. Now, can that be denied? No. Rivalry, competition, envy, jealousy, all that is malignant in human character is nourished by the system. Possession, money, property--on such corrupt standards as these do you people measure happiness and success.

…..
I can lie about my name, I can lie about my school, but how am I going to lie about this fucking nose? "You seem like a very nice person Mr. Porte-Noir, but why do you go around covering the middle of your face like that?" Because suddenly it has taken off, the middle of my face! Because gone is the button of my childhood years, that pretty little thing that people used to look at in my carriage, and lo and behold, the middle of my face has begun to reach out towards God. Porte-Noir and Parsons my ass, kid, you have got J-E-W written right across the middle of your face...

…..
Doctor, I had never had anybody like her in my life, she was the fulfillment of my most lascivious adolescent dreams– but marry her, can she be serious? You see, for all her preening and perfumes, she has a very low opinion of herself, and simultaneously– and here is the source of much of our trouble - a ridiculously high opinion of me. And simultaneously, a very low opinion of me! She is one confused Monkey, and, I'm afraid, not too very bright.

…..
Doctor Spielvogel, it alleviates nothing fixing the blame - blaming is still ailing, of course, of course - but nonetheless, what was it with these Jewish parents, what , that they were able to make us little Jewish boys believe ourselves to be princes on the one hand, unique as unicorns on the one hand, geniuses and brilliant like nobody has ever been brilliant and beautiful before in the history of childhood - saviors and sheer perfection on the one hand, and such bumbling, incompetent, thoughtless, helpless, selfish, evil little shits, little ingrates , on the other!

…..
They worship a Jew, do you know that, Alex? Their whole big-deal religion is based on worshiping someone who was an established Jew at that time. Now how do you like that for stupidity? How do you like that for pulling the wool over the eyes of the public? Jesus Christ, who they go around telling everybody was God, was actually a Jew! And this fact, that absolutely kills me when I have to think about it, nobody else pays any attention to. That he was a Jew, like you and me, and that they took a Jew and turned him into some kind of God after he is already dead, and then - and this is what can make you absolutely crazy - then the dirty bastards turn around afterwards, and who is the first one on their list to persecute? Who haven't they left their hands off of to murder and to hate for two thousand years? The Jews! Who gave them their beloved Jesus to begin with! I assure you, Alex, you are never going to hear such a mishegoss of mixed-up crap and disgusting nonsense as the Christian religion in your entire life. And that's what these big shots, so-called, believe!
…..


Everyman
…..
For hours after the three consecutive calls—and after the predictable banality and futility of the pep talk, after the attempt to revive the old esprit by reviving memories of his colleagues' lives, by trying to find things to say to buck up the hopeless and bring them back from the brink—what he wanted to do was not only to phone and speak to his daughter, whom he found in the hospital with Phoebe, but to revive his own esprit by phoning and talking to his mother and father. Yet what he'd learned was nothing when measured against the inevitable onslaught that is the end of life. Had he been aware of the mortal suffering of every man and woman he happened to have known during all his years of professional life, of each one's painful story of regret and loss and stoicism, of fear and panic and isolation and dread, had he learned of every last thing they had parted with that had once been vitally theirs and of how, systematically, they were being destroyed, he would have had to stay on the phone through the day and into the night, making another hundred calls at least. Old age isn't a battle; old age is a massacre.

…..


The Plot Against America

…..
--nor had I understood till then how the shameless vanity of utter fools can so strongly determine the fate of others.

…..
How can this be happening in America? How can people like these be in charge of our country? If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I'd think I was having a hallucination.
…..
There's a plot afoot all right, and I'll gladly name the forces propelling it - hysteria, ignorance, malice, stupidity, hatred, and fear. What a repugnant spectacle our country has become! Falsehood, cruelty, and madness everywhere, and brute force in the wings waiting to finish us off.

…..