Once joyful and passionate, Tom becomes a mere shadow of who he once was, completely shutting down with only his conscience to keep him company. Steinbeck describes him as “high and prim” (409) after Dessie’s funeral, demonstrating the extent to which he has removed himself from the world of the living. One would expect him to be hysterical after accidentally killing his sister, but his grief takes the form of dangerous dissociation and he is left unable to cope with the consequences of his well-intentioned actions. It is this dissociation that marks Tom’s transition from lively to brooding, his mental state deteriorating as he spends a short yet torturous time alone in his family’s ranch home. The suicide itself is scarcely described, leaving the reader only with the idea that Tom was a “gallant gentleman” (410). Steinbeck’s tacit explanation carries with it some irony, as most would consider running away from one’s problems neither gallant nor gentlemanly. Tom is so absorbed in his shortcomings that he sees fit to end his life as a means to end his suffering without regard to how suicide will affect his family and
“I saw them in Santa Barbara when they came back, and I thought I’d never seen a girl so mad about her husband. If he left the room for a minute she’d look around uneasily, and say: “Where’s Tom gone?” and wear the most abstracted expression until she saw him coming in the door. She used to sit on the sand with his head in her lap by the hour, rubbing her fingers over his eyes and looking at him with unfathomable delight. It was touching to see them together — it made you laugh in a hushed, fascinated way. That was in August. A week after I left Santa Barbara Tom ran into a wagon on the Ventura road one night, and ripped a front wheel off his car. The girl who was with him got into the papers, too, because her arm was broken
Arriving back at his apartment, Booker found Tom curled on the couch, his gaunt face a mask of misery. Dressed in ill-fitting sweats, the borrowed clothing swamped his slender frame, giving him the appearance of someone much younger than his twenty-five years. There was a bucket next to the couch that smelled faintly of vomit and Booker averted his eyes, unable to stomach the sight of the foul smelling liquid. His lower body ached, and all he wanted to do was take a hot shower and go to bed. For the first time since Tom’s arrival, he was aware of the enormity of what he was taking on. He could say goodbye to his carefree bachelor’s life, he was now responsible for a sick and emotionally damaged
The school day finished without a further peep from Gideon, to Judy’s surprise. She bid Angie a good-bye as the ocelot was picked up by her parents. Judy smiled, as her best friend climbed into the back seat, waving to her all the way to the end of the lot. Judy was about to make her way to the car until a large paw grabbed her mouth and made is so she couldn’t scream, another went around her waist picking her up. She was thrown again a metal pole, what she presumed to be the tetherball pole that was for gym class.
With a weary grunt, Booker shifted the bag of groceries in his arms and kicked his apartment door closed with his foot. He had planned to be home early so he take Tom out to dinner as a birthday surprise, but as usual, work had ruined his plans. When he had rung Tom and explained that he would be home late, he had expected him to react moodily, but instead, he had received a sympathetic response. It was a sign that their relationship was now on stable footing. Tom was more open about his feelings, and they argued less about the trivialities of everyday life; they were moving forward.
Tom’s expression became pensive before his lower lip pushed into a soft, enticing pout and lifting his gaze slightly, he peered solemnly up at Booker through his long, thick lashes. “I have trouble trusting people,” he confessed softly, his dark eyes shimmering with emotion. “But I do trust you. I’m lonely, Dennis. I had no real human contact for six months and then you showed up. It was terrifying, but suddenly, there was someone who had belief in me and didn’t just see a disabled ex-con. You made me want to be Tom Hanson again and that’s why I stopped taking my meds; I didn’t want to be that fucked up zombie anymore. But I crave more… I need more. There’s something between us and I can’t live here pretending there’s not. I know we can’t be intimate, but there’s nothing wrong with hugging and kissing, is there? I mean, we’re friends, right? We can do that as friends… can’t we?”
- He offered me to take the blame, but I know that did not kill Jill and that man. I could not. I loved Jill - contritely said the man and shut by the hands face. - I saw how he killed her and was unable to help ... no one believes me, and ye believe not. So why come? Convince me that I is guilty? - Tom shouted loudly and dramatically jumped out of bed, his face was purple, his eyes were bloodshot, the veins on his neck swelled and began to throb. - And all because you find it easier to shift the blame on me, than to find the
The sensations he is feeling are very strong, such as violently shuddering. He can't even focus on the pain washing over him and the cold against his teeth. Tom’s strength is quickly disappearing, “draining like water”, his legs are starting to give out which is the source for even more panic. This panic forces him out of his constant thoughts about work and is finally able to think rationally about what he is doing and the reality that he might not make it. The fear he feels is coupled by the realization of what is truly important in his life, his happiness and wife.
The sun hovered majestically over the edge of the horizon, its rays shimmering a last hurrah before it slowly dipped below the distant California skyline and vanished from sight. Tom sat alone in the Cadillac, his eyes unseeing, his body immobile, his mind locked within the trauma of his recent breakdown. He had fully intended to shoot Holland, to put a bullet straight between his eyes and end the vile man’s reign of terror forever. It had seemed the perfect solution at the time. But on reflection, sitting in solitude as the shadows of the approaching night shielded him from what was occurring within the walls of Holland’s home, Tom realized he had teetered close to the brink of insanity. For a split second, he had lost all rationality, and
Tom stood on the ridge. He looked down at his changing hands. He thought about his new assistant. He took her picture out of his pocket and looked at it. He raised his head and howled at the moon. His head jerked to the side.