61 pages 2 hours read

Thomas Wolfe

Look Homeward, Angel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1929

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Part 2, Chapters 18-27Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2, Chapter 18 Summary

Eugene continues to grow out of childhood and boyishness; “he sank deeper year by year into the secret life, a strange wild thing bloomed darkly in his face” (193). Helen, driven to dominate and control, becomes frustrated with Eugene’s withdrawal into himself. Helen’s frustration reveals how she is “frantically partisan” in categorizing her siblings as representations of their parents. Under the Gant category, Helen places only herself and Luke, “those who were generous, fine, and honorable;” she places Steve, Daisy, and Eugene under the Pentland category as “cold and selfish ones” (194). Ben defies categorization and remains on the outskirts of the family, although Helen later claims him as a Gant.

Steve marries an older Indiana woman named Margaret Lutz after Eugene discovers them in a compromising position. Boosted by his wife’s small inheritance, Steve saunters throughout Altamont and boasts of his newfound, exaggerated fortune. Soon Steve falls back into his patterns of excessive drinking and suffers from pain due to decaying teeth. He blames his mother and his wife for his pain. After being taken to the doctor, he is given morphine.

In one particular scene, Steve drunkenly harasses Eliza and viciously attacks Luke when he steps in to defend their mother.