Analysis of Tone in Chapter 25 of The Human Comedy Essay

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Analysis of Tone in Chapter 25 of The Human Comedy

Chapter 25, "Mr. Ara," begins with the gathering of neighborhood boys in front of Ara's market. August Gottlieb, Ulysses, Lionel, and other youths of Ithaca have just taken part in the theft of an apricot from Old Henderson's tree. Standing in front of the store, the boys revere the apricot as an item of sacrament. August, the boy who physically plucks it, is held in high regard for his bravery and efficiency. Although the apricot is hard and green and far from ripe, it has a deeper meaning to the young boys of the small town. The fruit is an item obtained in spite of the possible danger of getting caught by Henderson; it is considered an extremely well earned keepsake. The boys
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Ara again feels obliged to eat the leftovers, having thought about the importance of such food; however, he is unable to finish them himself. His son still remains discontent. Later, a customer comes into the shop asking for cookies with raisins. To his dismay, the shopkeeper does not have any. He is still angry about his son's behavior and talks bitterly about the inability to satisfy human beings. The grocer thinks back to the people of his home country and refers to them as inhuman and ignorant. He emphasizes the shambles Russia is in and contrasts it to the quality of life in America.

The first part of this chapter celebrates youthful "innocence" in a satirical, humorous, and proud tone. With respect, fear and admiration, the society of boys gape at Auggie's forbidden trophy, the apricot. Auggie holds pride in the small green ball. The passage humorously correlates the theft of the apricot to religion, calling the group of boys a "religious sect," with August, who had the power to steal the fruit with his own hand, their "religious leader." The apricot is admired so much by Ulysses that he "ran for home... eager to tell someone." This scene has a rather humorous aspect about it, due to the exaggerated importance and intense interest in this one, small, barely consequential object. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Ara comes out of his shop. Immediately, he is described as a funny, yet melancholy type of man. He jokes and dotes upon his toddler son in a way
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