The Pale King Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Pale King.
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Boredom

The dominant theme of the novel is boredom. This is made clear by numerous passages and much introspection by several characters. The primary characters that focus on boredom are David Wallace Foster, the protagonist and often the narrator, and Lane Dean Jr. Foster theorizes much about boredom and realizes it as an unavoidable part of the job of being a tax examiner. Like many of his co-workers, Foster seems somehow to be able to cope with the daily tedium and boredom by doing his work but not dwelling on it. Dean, on the other hand, is unable to do anything but focus on his boredom and he finds the job intolerable and soul-killing. The management of the REC realizes that boredom is a major factor and many aspects of the job are arranged, in part, to ameliorate the impact of boredom on productivity. This is not to suggest...

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This section contains 852 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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