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Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture - Part 1, Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Generation X.
This section contains 635 words
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Part 1, Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 Summary

"I Am Not a Target Market"

Andy describes how he met Dag when he came to work at the same bar, and how he put together the story of how Dag came to Palm Springs (from Toronto Ontario) out of bits of Dag's stories. He describes how Dag initially saw himself as successful, a desirable "target market" for manufacturers, how Dag came to identify with the enclosure and confinement of a framed photo on his desk, and how he lost his temper with his yuppie, ex-hippie boss (for a definition of "yuppie" see "Characters").

"Quit Your Job"

Andy narrates how Dag's arrogant treatment of a co-worker got turned against him, how he left his job without clearing out his desk, and how he became a "basement person" - moving into a dark basement apartment, living a self-consciously politically correct life, and eventually discovering that that life was as empty as his job.

"Dead at 30, Buried at 70"

Andy's narration of Dag's story continues, with Dag describing his move into his brother's apartment in Buffalo, which he describes as being economically and socially desolate. He narrates his descent into deep self doubt and depression, a crisis of self (see "Quotes," p. 30) that he says he could only break out of if he started with a completely clean slate. That, Dag says, was the point at which he realized it was time to "split to where the weather is hot and dry and where the cigarettes are cheap." There, in Palm Springs, he met Andy and Claire.

"It Can't Last"

In this chapter, Andy narrates his first meeting with Claire at a resort in Palm Springs where he worked, and where she was staying with her obnoxious family including her businessman father and his fourth wife. First he describes Claire's family's superficial conversation (including a sibling asking whether it's possible for humanity, which is damaging the earth so recklessly, to also damage the sun), and then his own first conversation with Claire, commenting several times that he knew right away the two of them were destined to be good friends. After narrating an attention-seeking incident involving Claire's hypochondriac, kleptomaniac father, Andy concludes this chapter with a description of Claire watching the setting sun and apologizing for causing it pain.

Part 1, Chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7 Analysis

This section is essentially exposition, a series of stories explaining how Dag and Claire not only came to be where they are in Andy's life, but how they came to be where they are in their own lives. It's interesting to note the difference between the two stories - Andy narrates Dag's story based on what Dag has told him, while he tells Claire's story based on at least a degree of personal experience of her life. It might not be going too far to suggest there is a correlation here with the end of the novel, in which Andy and Claire both arrive at a place where their stories are no longer disguised truths about themselves, but true expressions of themselves, while Dag remains trapped in the habit of concealing personal truth with fabrication.

The other noteworthy element here is the development of the image of the sun and light - specifically, Claire's apology, which is essentially a manifestation of her (hidden?) belief that in contrast to her story in Chapter 1 that describes the sun as a killer, she truly believes the sun is a life affirming force. Again, there may be a correlation between her actions here and where she (and Andy) get to by the end of the novel - both seem, on some essential level, to see the sun as a nurturing force, and by the end of the novel both arrive at a place of new self-awareness.

This section contains 635 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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