Specimen Days - In the Machine, Part 1 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

The novel opens in an unspecified year in 19th century New York City. A 12-year-old boy named Lucas lives in a tenement with his mother and father. Lucas’ family is originally from Ireland. Lucas’ older brother Simon recently died in a factory accident; Simon had been engaged to marry a young woman named Catherine Fitzhugh. Lucas was born with some superficial deformities such as a misshapen head and a misaligned eye. He sometimes suffers from fits in which he involuntarily quotes lines of poetry from his favorite book, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. In order to help support the family, Lucas has agreed to take his brother’s place at the factory. Lucas’ mother is sick with grief for Simon. Lucas’ father suffers from a lung disease, which he treats with a mechanized, manually operated breathing machine.

On page 13, Lucas...

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This section contains 1,148 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Specimen Days Study Guide
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