Looking for homework help that takes the stress out of studying? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!

The Power and the Glory

  • Study Guide
Quotes

Important Quotes Explained

Quotes Important Quotes Explained

Heat stood in the room like an enemy. But he believed against the evidence of his senses in the cold empty ether spaces. A radio was playing somewhere: music from Mexico City, or perhaps even from London or New York filtered into this obscure neglected state. It seemed to him like a weakness: this was his own land, and he would have walled it in with steel if he could, until he had eradicated from it everything which reminded him of how it had once appeared to a miserable child. He wanted to destroy everything: to be alone without any memories at all.

This is a compelling portrait of the lieutenant from the second chapter of Part I, emphasizing his belief in emptiness. Interestingly, the narrator says that he believed "against the evidence of his senses", implying that the lieutenant, on some level, has to have faith, even if it is faith in purposelessness. Belief in nothing, like any belief, requires one to accept something that cannot necessarily be proven. Furthermore, it is significant that his enemies in this scene are warmth and music—things that sustain life and lend it beauty. As seen by the end of the quotation, where the key words are "steel", "eradicated," and "destroy," the lieutenant's wishes and beliefs, although springing from noble sentiments, are filled with violence and the denial of life.