Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Annotated Nexus - Page 22

22.0 Miller remembers the last conversation he had with Stymer: masturbation and prostitutes. After an hour, Miller returns to Stymer's office. Stymer begins the momentum of his one-sided conversation, asking Henry about literature and telling him about his affair with a young woman.

22.1 masturbation
Stymer has been trying to stop masturbating for years; Miller calls it a "viscious habit," but it's not clear whether he is paraphrasing Stymer or not (he also sets the word masturbation in italics). On page 24, Stymer will contemplate how his chronic masturbation has affected him. On page 28, he blames his wife for turning him into a masturbator. In Tropic of Capricorn, Miller admits, fleetingly, to have also indulged in the common practice at the age of 15 (p. 252).

22.2 "filthy whores"
Miller recommends that a visit to a "whorehouse" might help Stymer kick the masturbation addiction. Stymer seems digusted with the idea to take up with what he calls "filthy whores" ("They're not all filthy," Miller replies. Miller had already experienced prostitution at this point). Stymer also uses the fact that he's married as a moral reason for not visiting a brothel. This sets up the ironic farce that is Stymer's personlaity, as we shall see.

22.3 package of samples
Miller brought samples of fabric along with him as he visited potential customers for the tailor shop.

22.4 "I didn't come here to sell you a suit."
In 21.4, Miller has already established his real reason for visiting Stymer. Stymer last bought a suit from Miller's father five years earlier, but still hadn't paid in full. In a gesture of goodwill, Stymer offers to buy another suit, but Miller tells him not to bother since he doesn't "need any new clothes" (Stymer) and for the reason stated above.

22.5 Oblomov
Henry had last recommended the Russian novel Oblomov [full text] to Stymer. Written by Ivan Goncharov, the story revolves around an indecisive nobleman; it takes him 150 pages to simply leave his bed. "[D]idn't make much of an impression on me," critiques Stymer. He wants another recommendation.

22.6 "I've been having an affair"
Stymer launches from Oblomov right into an admission that he's been having an affair with "a young girl, very young, and a nymphomaniac to boot. Drains me dry." On page 27, it's established that her name is Belle. Stymer is bothered not by the affair, but by the way his wife (who knows about the affair: pg 28) "works over" him because of it.

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