Humboldt's Gift Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Charlie Citrine, as an elderly man, looks for something along the curbs in Chicago. What does he search for and why?

Charlie Citrine is not sure what he is searching for but thinks he might find some coins. Kids in Chicago in the Twenties hunted for treasure in the March thaw along the streets, finding such things as bottle caps and Indian-head pennies. He feels he's gotten his child's soul back.

2. Why does Humboldt tell Charlie that he wants Adlai Stevenson to win the election over Eisenhower?

Humboldt tells Charlie that Stevenson reads his poetry. He won't say how he knows this, but only says that he's "in touch." Humboldt believes that if Stevenson wins the election, culture and literature will come into its own in Washington. He believes that cabinet members would be quoting Yeats and Joyce and he, Humboldt, would be consulted about each State of the Union message.

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