Everyman (Philip Roth) Themes & Motifs

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Mortality

Throughout the novel, the protagonist struggles with the idea and implications of mortality; one of the primary avenues through which he interfaces with this idea is through his own health complications. This pattern is established at the age of nine, when the protagonist is hospitalized for a hernia. When he awakes one morning to see that the other boy in his hospital room is gone, he believes that the boy died. The narration notes, “Memorable enough that he was in the hospital that young, but even more memorable that he had registered a death” (27). The event is momentous and formative for the protagonist, as the narrative presents the episode as the protagonist’s first real direct interaction with the idea of death. This idea continues to haunt the protagonist as he struggles with other medical problems throughout his life.

The protagonist dreads mortality not only because...

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This section contains 2,254 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Everyman (Philip Roth) Study Guide
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