Everyman

by: Philip Roth

Sections 15-18

Summary Sections 15-18

Summary: Section 15

The everyman thinks once again of Nancy, and then about his relationship with his sons Randy and Lonny. They do not keep in contact much, and he feels that it is better to avoid conflict with them. He doesn’t know what he could have done differently to make things better between them, other than to stay married to their mother. He doesn’t tell Randy and Lonny about his hospitalizations, worrying that they will be pleased. The narrator reveals some of the circumstances surrounding why the everyman was unfaithful to Phoebe. Partly because they do not know the full facts behind the everyman’s choices, Randy and Lonny are unable to see the everyman as he really is. He believes that his life would be less lonely if things had turned out differently, but aware that things are not different, he accepts his fate.

Summary: Section 16

The everyman’s relationship with his brother Howie has remained good all his life. Howie’s success as a businessman continues even after he retires. Even though Howie is extremely busy, the brothers always call each other a few times a month, exchanging moments of nostalgia for their shared childhood. However, the everyman becomes jealous of Howie’s good health. He knows it is ridiculous to hate him for this. The everyman is proud of Howie for all his achievements in his business and family life. Still, his jealousy makes him very angry, and he begins to speak with Howie less and less. Even though he knows it is not true, he almost believes that Howie’s good health is responsible for his own bad health.

Summary: Section 17

The everyman starts giving painting lessons partly because he hopes to become involved with a new woman, but he does not feel attracted to any of them. He lusts after the young women he sees jogging on the boardwalk. At the same time, looking at the women running reminds him of his loneliness. He has to struggle not to think of his past life when he had been surrounded with loved ones. He grows bored and disinterested in painting. He has had some success showing and selling his paintings, but later he feels like the failure Randy and Lonny seem to see him as. He thinks then that painting was a distraction from his mortality. He begins to feel a sense of creeping dread, and determines that every activity comes with the risk of backfiring, even painting.

Summary: Section 18