Tommy continues to think of his father, Dr. Adler, before going to meet him. He thinks of how his father disapproves of his separation with Margaret, his wife. Tommy thinks his father believes that he should be home with his wife and children and not in the hotel with him.
Tommy also thinks that his father does not care about the death of his mother, for he cannot remember the date his own wife died. He becomes angry with this and claims that it was "the beginning of the end" when his mother died. When he tells he recalls telling his father about this, his father does not understand what he means by the "beginning of the end." Tommy thinks also that his father thinks him dirty and untidy. Tommy is not all together neat and he keeps cigarette ends in his pockets, after he has finished smoking them. He thinks all of this and then he chides himself for being a "kid" when dealing with is father.
After much thinking and narrative description on the way to breakfast, Tommy finally meets with his father in the dining hall. However, there is someone at the table, joining them this morning, Mr. Perls. Tommy becomes upset and begins to think that his father has invited Mr. Perls, a hosiery wholesaler who also lives in the hotel, to have breakfast with them because his father does not want to be alone with his son. However, Tommy does not say any of this, he only thinks it.
At breakfast, Dr. Adler tells his son that he takes too many pills. Wilhelm is a pill-popper. He also makes a comment about the fact that Tommy left his wife and, according to the narrator, thinks that his son has disgusting habits. Also, they have a discussion, in front of Mr. Perls about the loss of his job. In this section, moreover, the characters are further revealed to the reader. One finds out that Wilhelm had many an odd job before he became a salesman. For instance, he worked for the WPA and had a hotel job in Cuba. As for Dr. Adler, one comes to the understanding that money, as has been implied until now, does seem to be of great importance to him. For example, at some point in the conversation, Dr. Adler tells Mr. Perls that his son's income had been " up in the five figures."
The chapter ends with a discussion of Dr. Tamkin. Both Dr. Adler and Mr. Perls distrust him and think that he is strange. Tommy, however, defends Dr. Tamkin, given that he likes him, in many ways, and also given that he has entrusted the man with his money.
This chapter illustrates the strain in the relationship between Wilhelm and his father, Dr. Adler. It seems to that Dr. Adler is constantly criticizing his son for his misjudgments, for his mistakes, and his decisions he has made in his life. He reprimands him for not his separation from his wife and he tells him that his idea to work for the competitor of the company that fired him would only lead to embarrassment. He also warns him about Dr. Tamkin. However cruel Adler seems must be balanced out with by the fact that all the information is being filtered through the perspective of Tommy. It is difficult to tell when the narrator is genuinely taking on Dr. Alder's perspective, when he is mocking Tommy's martyr instinct, when he is seeing the events through Tommy's eyes, or when he is being genuinely "true" to life. It is important that we constantly question our view of Dr. Adler. Tommy is a deeply confused man and, thus, there are no real answers or absolute, objective truths. He is drowning in the modern world, in his surroundings, in what he thinks are his failures, and in the eyes of his father.
Take a Study Break
Every Shakespeare Play Summed Up in a Quote from The Office
Every Marvel Movie Summed Up in a Single Sentence
Macbeth As Told in a Series of Texts
QUIZ: Is This a Great Gatsby Quote or a Lorde Lyric?
QUIZ: Which Coming-of-Age Trope Will You Experience This Summer?
QUIZ: Are You a Hero, a Villain, or an Anti-Hero?
Pick 10 Books and We'll Guess Whether You're an Introvert or an Extrovert