They Whisper Summary
Robert Olen Butler

Everything you need to understand or teach They Whisper by Robert Olen Butler.

  • They Whisper Summary & Study Guide

They Whisper Summary

Ira's purity of desire for intimacy outstrips whatever sense he may have of traditional notions of morality, or even recognition that a "liberated woman" in his modern times might not wish to be viewed constantly as a sexual object. For Ira, any female who comes into view — physically or via memory — is a subject for detailed sexual fantasies and seduction: Good sex is true worship; bad sex is distorting and distorted religion. And somehow, although he claims to be an equal opportunity admirer, a reader never finds Ira in bed with a decidedly homely or overweight paramour.

Father-son bonding arises as Ira moves to protect John from Fiona's fixations and rages. When John is old enough to have a fascination for trains, Ira and he spend Saturdays riding the trains in and around New York — even though Ira commutes to and from work by train...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The They Whisper Study Pack contains:

They Whisper Short Guide