Wonder Boys Themes & Motifs

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Connection and Isolation

The novel consistently portrays self-isolation as a dangerous dynamic that can lead to cyclical forms of self-destruction. Grady repeatedly refers to such dynamics as “the midnight disease” (5), and Grady himself seems to sometimes suffer from this condition. Grady eventually directly addresses “the nature of the midnight disease, which started as a simple feeling of disconnection from other people…you began actually craving this feeling of apartness” (76). In Grady’s experience, this condition often affects writers, who prefer to observe people and gather material for their writing rather than actually try to form deep connections with people. Apparent sufferers of this condition include Grady, James, Vetch, and Q., all of whom portray habits of neglected or sabotaging their interpersonal connections. The novel ultimately portrays such dynamics of self-isolation as deeply deleterious to personal fulfillment.

However, the novel does not necessarily portray human connection as inherently...

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This section contains 2,363 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Wonder Boys Study Guide
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