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Raised in Captivity Summary & Study Guide Description
Raised in Captivity Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Klosterman, Chuck. Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction. New York: Penguin Press, 2019.
“Raised in Captivity” is about a man that encountered a live puma in an airplane restroom. Unsure what to do about this, he told his seatmate, and the two mulled over the possible scenarios as to how the puma got in the restroom to begin with.
In “Execute Again,” a man is interviewed by journalists about his old high school football coach, who had the team run the same play over and over again on every down. It was a wildly successful approach, and all of the narrator's teammates went on to lead extraordinary lives. He is in prison for murdering 260 people.
In “Toxic Actuality,” a professor was reprimanded after making students uncomfortable during a discussion about racism. He complained to a colleague, who reminded him that young people always set the tone for social justice issues.
In “How Can This Be the Place,” a blue collar worker followed a lawyer into a fancy bar and watched him interact with his friends. When he asked the lawyers what they were talking about, he was disappointed to discover their topics of conversation—baseball and movies—were trivial.
In “The Truth About Food,” children on a field trip to a science lab asked if animals maintain a healthy diet. While investigating this question later, scientists learned that everything we thought we knew about eating healthy was wrong.
In “Every Day Just Comes and Goes,” a man out for a run was confronted by a stranger claiming to be from the future. The stranger asked the man to come to the future to help him with an important mission, but the man refused.
In “Blizzard of Summer,” a punk band discovered, much to their chagrin, that one of their songs had become an overnight hit with white supremacists.
“Of Course It Is” concerns a narrator who claims to be living the same day over and over again. He believes he is in hell, but cannot be certain.
In “Skin,” a man heard on the radio that it is impossible for a person to cry at the same time they are eating something delicious. He took his girlfriend out to a fancy restaurant and broke up with her while she was eating their best dish. She cried, and he was surprised and disappointed his plan failed.
In “The Perfect Kind of Friend,” a man tried to text a friend to ask a question, but accidentally texted a near stranger instead. The stranger told the man all sorts of intimate details about his sex life and marriage. The man grew to appreciate these exchanges, because they made him feel better about his own life.
In “Cat Person,” a detective told a journalist about his latest case—a man that was going around the city rubbing cats on innocent victims, exposing them to a bacterial infection.
In “Experience Music Project,” a man is interviewed by the police because they believe he may know something about a murder that happened in the bodega he frequents.
In “Pain Is a Concept By Which We Measure Our God,” a man agreed to undergo a procedure that would cause him to feel his wife's pain during labor, despite having reservations.
In “What About the Children,” a man agreed to go along with the cult his brother wished to start, but had to report him to the police when he decided to incite his followers to mass suicide.
In “(An Excerpt from) A Life That Wasn't Mine,” a man recalls working on a film with a temperamental director. The man was fired when he was unable to secure the life rights of the rock star the director wanted to include in his film.
“Not That Kind of Person” is about a woman that hired a hit man to kill her husband, but when she learned the hit man planned to make her husband so depressed he killed himself, she felt she could not go through with her plot.
In “Rhinoceros,” a man learned that his former friend had quit his job as a jazz critic and left his wife and children to run away with an anarchist hacker. The man was frustrated by his inability to understand this friend's bizarre life choices.
In “The Enemy Within,” a woman was interviewed by agents from a mysterious organization about her boyfriend's interests. She learned he was suspected of being “Fake Woke” (164).
In “The Secret,” a man was interviewed for a job at a secret underground laboratory investigating the supposed unraveling of the universe.
“Trial and Error” is centered around a woman considering whether or not she should kill a wolf if doing so would solve all of her life problems.
In “Tricks Aren't Illusions,” a man was visited by a friend during a snow storm. The friend implied he was running from the law and said he needed a place to stay the night. The man contemplated the implications of this request, but then permitted his friend to stay.
In “Fluke,” a man weighed his options after being offered a promotion at work. Unable to relax on a beach vacation, he took a walk and witnessed a whale being struck by lightning. This event caused him to rethink his entire life; he decided not to take the promotion and asked his wife to have children with him.
In “If Something Is Free the Product Is You” a narrator recalls serving time in prison for investment fraud. When he came into possession of a screwdriver, he manipulated other prisoners into doing favors for him in exchange for the contraband, but then never gave it to anyone.
In “Never Look at Your Phone,” a man was at the park with his young son when he was approached by a concerned mother. She asked him to speak to another man in the park who was talking to the children and making everyone uncomfortable. The protagonist agreed to confront the man, but could not convince him to leave. When he returned to his child, the park had erupted into chaos after some sort of accident involving the concerned mother's son.
“Reality Apathy” is about a future world where it is nearly impossible to tell fact from fiction on the internet. Consequently, people have given up on trying to discern what is real and what is not.
In “Reasonable Apprehension,” a veterinarian meets with a lawyer to discuss their options after being charged with assault. The vet received a rabies vaccine that gave them symptoms of the disease, and then frightened a woman by following her into an alley.
In “Just Asking Questions,” a man told his friend about catching his wife in bed with his best friend many years earlier. The friend asked a series of pedantic, trivial questions in response, much to the man's annoyance.
In “To Live in the Hearts of Those We Leave Behind Is Not to Die, Except That It Actually Is,” a woman sat at her father's deathbed and listened as he admitted involvement in a series of government conspiracies.
In “Tell Don't Show,” an advertising executive comes up with a dog food campaign while contending with feelings of existential despair.
In “Slang of Ages,” two television executives interviewed three candidates for a possible hosting job, hoping to hire the person with the strangest point-of-view.
In “Slow Pop,” a narrator recalled a former roommate who wore horse blinders and accidentally set their apartment building on fire before disappearing into the night.
“[ ]” is a fictional excerpt from a book about basketball describing a humorous scenario in which the Massachusetts Institute of Technology put together a team by recruiting the top tier high school players on their way to the NBA.
In “I Get It Now,” a narrator applies Jean Baudrillard's semiotics to the present political landscape.
In “The Power of Other People,” a retired man worked on a mysterious project in his shed. He tried to explain it to his neighbor, but failed. His failure made him angry at his neighbor, but he channeled that anger into finishing the project.
This section contains 1,365 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)