There is a cathartic tone to the book. Catharsis is a release of built-up emotion, and the classical definition of catharsis involves a combination of terror and pity in that release. As the images of Wilhelm's growing frustration and desperation mount, the novel creates a sense that something has to give before Wilhelm, in his own words, "bursts" or "chokes." In the final moments of the novel, the realization of his utter financial ruin dawns upon Wilhelm. He sees at the same time that Tamidn, whom he had trusted and had looked up to as a kind of spiritual advisor, has betrayed his trust. Thus two main threads of the novel-Wilhelm's fears about his financial instability and his intense desire for human connection-have simultaneously and devastatingly come to a head.