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“I feel my typewriters, my table, my chair to have that assurance of a solid world, where things take up space, where there is not the endless emptiness of insubstantial thought that leads to nowhere but itself.” – page 207


In enabling us to understand Homer, Doctorow explores his love of music. How does music define Homer’s character and connect him with others outside the house (for instance, Mary Elizabeth Riordan, Harold Robileaux)?

Try this:

Consider the following passage from p. 36:

“Here is where Langley came to the rescue.  He found at some estate auction a player piano, an upright.  It came with dozens of perforated paper scrolls on cylinders.  You fitted the cylinders on two dowels, the scroll running athwart, you pumped the floor pedals, the keys depressed as if by magic, and what you heard was a performance of one of the greats, Paderewski, Anton Rubinstein, Josef Hoffmann, as if they were sitting right there beside you on the piano bench. In this way I added to my repertoire, listening to the piano rolls over and over until I could place my fingers on the keys precisely at the moment they were mechanically pressed.  Then finally, I could turn to my own Aeolian and play the piece for myself, in my own interpretation.  I mastered any number of Schubert impromptus, Chopin etudes, Mozart sonatas, and I and my music were in accord once again.”


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