Hank was walking barefoot up the dock, carrying his sweatshirt over a freckled shoulder and his boots clamped between thumb and finger of that maimed hand. Lee marveled at the scamper of small muscles across the narrow white back, at the swing of the arms and the lift of the neck. Did it take that much muscle just to walk, or was Hank showing off his manly development? Every moment constituted open aggression against the very air through which Hank passed. He doesn't just breathe, Lee decided, listening to Hank's broken-nosed puffing, he gobbles the oxygen. He doesn't just walk; he consumes distance step by carnivorous step. Open aggression is what it is all right, he concluded. Yet couldn't help but notice the way those shoulders seemed to savor the swing of the arms, or the way those feel relished the feel of the dock. These people...am I one of these people?
Whenever an occasion arose in which she needed an opinion on something in the wider world, she borrowed her husband's. If this had been all there was to her, she wouldn't have bothered anyone, but as is so often the case with such women, she suffered from an incurable case of of pretentiousness. Lacking any internalized values of her own, such people can arrive at a standpoint only by adopting other people's standards or views. The only principle that governs their minds is the question "How do I look?
Writing is a concentrated form of thinking...a young writer sees that with words he can place himself more clearly into the world. Words on a page, that's all it takes to help him separate himself from the forces around him, streets and people and pressures and feelings. He learns to think about these things, to ride his own sentences into new perceptions.