Choosing and acting are existence.
This is Mythotherapy and it is based on two assumptions: that human existence precedes human essence and that a man is free not only to choose his own essence but to change it at will.
Those are both good existentialist premises, and they are useful in Jacob's case.
One is a patient simply because one chooses a condition that only therapy can bring one to, not because any one condition is inherently better than another.
Jacob Horner first meets the Doctor quite by chance on the morning of March 17, 1951, in what passes for the grand concourse of the Pennsylvania Railroad Station in Baltimore.
It happens to be the day after his twenty-eighth birthday and he is in an unusual condition: he can't move, he is paralyzed.
The Doctor is a physician and he is interested in discussing his case with him.
His specialty is various sorts of physical immobility in a farm designed for the treatment of paralytics.
According to the Doctor at that time on the bench Jacob is neither a major nor a minor character: he is no character at all.
In fact, in a sense, as Jacob said, he was Jacob Honer.
So following the Doctor's advice, he enters the teaching profession; for a time he is a teacher of grammar at the Wicomico State Teachers College, in Maryland.
Here he becomes acquainted with two other professors: Joe Morgan and his wife, Rennie.
The friendship quickly develops into a love triangle where everyone is responsible of their actions.
Joe is rather a strange man: he methodically analyzes his own and other people's behavior and the relationship with his wife is an uncommon one : neither of them want to make a permanent thing of it and moreover Joe believes there's nothing intrinsically valuable about marriage.
If he supposed that Rennie had committed adultery behind his back, their relationship would have lost its raison d'être.
Joe has no friends, because he will expect a lesser degree of the same kind of thing from a friend.
In this sense, he shows his intellectual superiority to dominate the others and to dominate Rennie.
Rennie says that she lived in a complete fog from the day she was born until after she met Joe.
She wasn't really interested in anything, she never thought about anything. She never even particularly wanted to do anything, she didn't even especially enjoy herself. She just dreamed along like a big blob of sleep.
She has never seen anybody like Joe.
She thinks of Joe like she would think of God. Even when he makes a mistake, his reasons for doing what he did are clearer and sharper than anybody else's.
Joe is only intolerant of stupidity in people he cares about.
Rennie thinks she is better off now than she was: she wasn't anything before.
According to Jacob's version of Rennie, what happened couldn't have happened. According to her version of herself, it couldn't have happened. And yet it happened.
They not only have to accept the fact that she did what she did, but also the fact that she wanted to do it.
Mythotherapy would have kept Jacob out of any involvement, if he'd practiced it assiduously the whole time. Actually he did practice it, but like a ninny he gave himself the wrong part. Even the villain's role would have been all right, if he'd been an out-and-out villain with no regrets! But he has made himself a penitent when it's too late to repent.
Leggerò anche l'opera galleggiante. In ogni caso questo romanzo ultracinquantenne non mostra la sua età e incuriosisce per la genialità stilistica di JB. A tratti incanta. Ciò che colpisce è l'abilità dell'autore nel tracciare consapevoli ed espliciti piani di lettura sovrapposti. Questa scelta postmoderna non rende illeggibile o faticoso il ramanzo, ma fornisce una "analitica" della narrazione in cui l'io narrante si spiega, si commenta, si censura, inventa incessantemente più ruoli senza però appesantire la struttura del racconto. In definitiva l'atteggiamento postmoderno ha un esito molto "europeo". Paradossalmente, benché lo stile sia ovviamente molto differente, inella minuziosa ermeneutica di JB trovo più Proust di Pinchon o di Wallace....Continua