Moses' criticism of Shapiro reminds us that Moses' generation lived through a war. Moses also criticizes Shapiro for forgetting his immigrant and Jewish roots. Here and throughout the novel, Bellow writes about the Jewish-American experience. Here, Moses criticizes Shapiro for forgetting his roots, saying, "his father was a peddler," an immigrant, like Moses' own bootlegger father. Moses also talks about the "richness of blood" that should not be forgotten. As much as he criticizes Shapiro, however, Moses has committed many of the same errors as Shapiro. Moses has cloaked himself in intellect and has sought upward social mobility.
In this section, Moses pokes fun at the simple description of modernity as a wasteland, a place of alienation. Moses believes that there is much more to modernity than isolation. Modernity is also about a struggle and a need for humanity.