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The Human Comedy By William Saroyan

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 953 words Published: 21st Apr 2017

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In the Human Comedy by William Saroyan, there are several different example of human unity during a time of war throughout the book in its entirety. Homer, a 14 year old boy, given the task to run his house and be the man the family needs after the tragic death of his father. Throughout the novel, Homer continuously shows his kindness to others in a time of depression. Secondly, Mr. Grogan’s actions and words are examples of human unity because he helps Homer grow and learn by teaching him through stories and personal experiences. Lastly, Big Chris is the perfect example of human unity during a time of war. He helps Ulysses out of the trap and refuses to leave his side. Human unity exists very strongly between all the characters. The same connection to the war makes it stronger. During a time of war the essential goodness of people is shown through these characters actions.

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Throughout the whole book, Homer encounters many forms of people affected by the war. An example of this was when homer delivered the telegraph to Mrs. Sandoval. This showed that Homer understood the pain this grieving woman was going through and did not want to leave her side. “Mrs. Sandoval your son is dead. Maybe it’s a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t your son. Maybe was somebody else. The telegram says it was Juan Domingo. But maybe the telegram is wrong”(p. 27) This quote shows that Homer doesn’t want Mrs. Sandoval to feel the pain of losing her son. This quote shows that Homer is giving the women false hope about her son, just to make her feel better. This shows human unity because Homer uses the pain that he felt to help Mrs. Sandoval in her painful time. “Homer wanted to get up and run but he knew he would stay. He even thought he might stay the rest of his life. He just didn’t know what else to do to try to make the women less unhappy, and if she had asked him to take the place of her son, would not have been able to refuse…”(p. 27) This quote shows that Homer doesn’t what to leave this women in her times of unhappiness because he himself couldn’t get himself to leave. This shows that Homer wants to help the women because of his common situation with the war. Homer is a great example of the unity of humans in a time of war because of his love and caring for Mrs. Sandoval’s feeling and slowly is a foreshadow to the events to come towards Homer with Marcus’ death.

Big Chris is an excellent example of human unity. He helped show that everyone is important. He showed that every person should be treated equally and not like a product which was all Mr. Covington thought about. “Now you just hold tight there, Ulysses, and the man here will get you right out and set you free. Well, come on now get the boy back on his feet.”(p. 63) This quote showed that Big Chris was completely determined to help Ulysses even though he didn’t know him or his family. “You’re breaking the trap! It’s the only one of its kind in the world. You mustn’t break it!”(p. 68) This shows that Mr. Covington was only interested in his business whereas Big Chris was interested in helping break Ulysses out and setting him free. “I’ll break this whole store” This shows that Big Chris was going to do everything that is possible to break Ulysses free. “Big Chris tugged at the trap with every muscle in his fingers, arms, shoulders and back, and little by little the trap began to give way to force of his strength.” This shows that Big Chris helped Ulysses escape and help him regain his “freedom”. Big Chris is the perfect example of human unity because he never gave up to save the boy. Big Chris went out of his way to help Ulysses in his time of need. He even paid for the trap when Mr. Covington demanded money. Big Chris is a perfect example of human unity because he helped Ulysses escape the bear trap by doing everything physically possible.

During the story Mr. Grogan shows the unity between humans because he and Homer share a relationship that only symbolizes unity in times of hardships. Mr. Grogan acts as a father to Homer and helps him achieve his dream of becoming the fastest telegram deliverer in the world. Their in-depth conversations about telegraphing and life show unity between humans. “I know I can count on you to help me, my boy.”(p. 30) This quote shows that these two characters unity exceeds any other relationship in the book. Throughout the book Mr. Grogan and Homer often talked about the world and the town. Homer declared that he did not like things as they were around Ithaca; “Seeing everyone in the world mixed up and lonely” (p. 74) Homer and Mr. Grogan felt that they had to say in the world and make people happy. This shows that Mr. Grogan felt Homer’s pain with Marcus at war. This is especially shown at his time of death where he was found dead, from a heart attack, on the keyboard writing to Mrs. Macauley about Marcus’ death.

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During The Human Comedy by William Saroyan, the theme of human unity and the coming together in a time of war is shown by the characters actions and dialog. Homer’s encounter with Mrs. Sandoval shows that he wanted to stay by her side to ease the pain of her son’s death. Big Chris helped Ulysses out of the bear trap and stayed with him the whole time he was trapped. Mr. Grogan helped Homer grow and showed the unity of humans by attempting to hide Marcus’ death from Homer to protect him. During a time of war the essential goodness of people is shown through these characters actions.


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