61 pages 2 hours read

Thomas Wolfe

Look Homeward, Angel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1929

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Part 3, Chapters 32-33Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 3, Chapter 32 Summary

Eugene enters his second year at university and rooms with an eager Altamont boy named Bob Sterling. Bob becomes ill and is forced to return home, where he soon dies. Eugene moves into a new dormitory with two older students.

The doctor gives Gant a fatal prognosis, and Helen brings him home. Stressed and overwhelmed, Helen endures frequent illnesses that “manifested […] in various ways—sometimes in a terrible mastoid pain, sometimes in nervous exhaustion, sometimes in a hysterical collapse in which she laughed and wept by turns” (395). Like her father, Helen drinks frequently, “seeking only the effect of alcohol and getting at it in strange ways through a dozen abominations called ‘tonics’ and ‘extracts’” (395). Throughout her illnesses, Helen continues to care for her father.

Unlike his solitary first year, Eugene is “happier that he had ever been in his life, and more careless” (398), and joins various campus groups. Eugene, Ben, and Luke return home for Christmas, Eugene from university, Ben from his business traveling throughout the South, and Luke from his naval training. During the family’s reunion, Eugene becomes drunk for the first time and is cared for by his family. In the days that follow Eugene’s drunken escapade, his family hypocritically admonishes him for turning to alcohol and for wasting the opportunities provided him; after Ben joins in on the relentless lectures, Eugene, feeling betrayed, “sprang at his brother like a cat, with a snarling cry” (408).