The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life Summary & Study Guide

Robert Goolrick
This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The End of the World as We Know It.
This section contains 454 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life Summary & Study Guide Description

The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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"The End of the World as We Know It" is a courageous novel about the struggles of a man who was sexually abused as a child by his father. It portrays a life in the late 1940s and early 1950s that is externally perfect, while that same life is internally disintegrating due to alcoholism and the secrets he held to hide the shame of his family life. It is only as an adult that the author is able to reflect back on his own life to discover that the causes for his own wayward existence lie in his upbringing and in the abuse he endured.

"The End of the World as We Know It" is a story of the dangers of alcohol, the hidden lives of the perfect family in the 40s and 50s, and the horrific consequences of childhood sexual abuse. Robert Goolrick, the author, has spent his entire life miserable, unable to make human connections, to create lasting relationships, or to love other human beings in a long lasting way. Over the course of his life, he has abused drugs, alcohol, and other substances. He has attempted suicide and has mutilated his own body to the point of near death. As the book goes on, readers learn that Goolrick likely learned his alcoholic habits from his parents, who were severely addicted. In addition, readers learn that many of Goolrick's problems stem from the sexual abuse he endured at the hands of his father and due to the mental and emotional abuse handed down by his mother, who witnessed the event and did nothing. For many years, Goolrick felt his parents emotionally and verbally abused and shunned him, due to their feelings of guilt and also in fear that if he told the true story, he could destroy their family. As the alcoholism grew worse, his parents' abuse also worsened, along with their health and mental capabilities. Eventually, both his parents died from complications of alcohol and Goolrick found himself mourning them along with his lost childhood. In the end, Goolrick hopes both to heal himself as well as to save other children the same fate.

"The End of the World as We Know It" is a difficult read, at times humorous and at other times scathingly painful, but always honest and sincere. Goolrick's journey to understand himself and his life through the lens of his abuse is revealing, as it explains many of the effects of sexual abuse on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well being of the victim. Readers are left with the pain of Goolrick's life, but also with a deeper understanding of the power of abuse and the never-ending hope of the human spirit.

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This section contains 454 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life Study Guide
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