Is Somebody a Little Jealous? 12/1

This, the 4th chapter of The Human Stain, describes Zuckerman sitting outside of Coleman’s house after several unanswered calls (and we cannot help but compare this behavior to Les’s who is out there as well). When he  sees Coleman and Faunia out, meeting her for only the second time, he seems sad when he realizes that this insular couple will not be joining him at an inn for dinner. He concludes the section by writing, “[o]nly some three months later, when I learned the secret and began this book–the book he had asked me to write in the first place, but written not necessarily as he wanted it–did I understand the underpinning of the pact between them: he had told her his whole story. Faunia alone knew how Coleman Silk had come into being himself. How do I know she knew? I don’t. I couldn’t know that either. I can’t know. Now that they’re dead, nobody can know…” pg 213.

Should we read Zukerman as jealous of Faunia and/or of Faunia and Coleman’s relationship ( remember that he has cut himself off from society and is impotent)? What effect might this have on the narrative that we receive ( his depiction of Faunia, who he barely knows, for instance)?


4 Responses to Is Somebody a Little Jealous? 12/1

  1. ryanspencer says:

    I don’t read a lot of jealous here. I think Zukerman seems to rationalize any feeling of jealousy out earlier when he says, “Of course I knew nothing then of the truth of his origins—that, too, I’d learn about conclusively at the funeral—and so I couldn’t
    begin to surmise that the reason we’d never met in the years before
    Iris’s death, the reason that he’d wanted not to meet, was because I
    had myself grown up only a few miles from East Orange and because,
    having more than a run-of-the-mill familiarity with the region,
    I might be too knowledgeable or too curious to leave his roots
    in Jersey unscrutinized.” It seems to any jealousy that he had for Faunia is pretty easy for him to put aside since he seems to have, if not figured out why, at least rationalized a reason why Coleman didn’t want to meet with Zukerman.

  2. Sarah Terrazano says:

    As was mentioned in class, I don’t think that Zuckerman’s concern for Coleman was unfounded, at least at first. When someone completely cuts you out of their life – especially someone who has asked you to write a book about their life story – it is natural to call frequently and even show up at their house.

    However, I do see jealously underlying some of Zuckerman’s narrative, such as in the quote above. When Zuckerman says, “Faunia alone knew how Coleman Silk had come into being himself. How do I know she knew? I don’t. I couldn’t know that either. I can’t know…” his tone seems bitter and a little offended. The short sentences emphasize this. It is almost as if is he jealous that Coleman would tell Faunia more than he told him, or at least confused as to why Coleman would confide in her over him. This perspective on Faunia perhaps contributes to all of the descriptions of her that paint her in a poor light; even in the last line of the chapter, when describing her death, she is a “hapless thirty-four-year-old illiterate” (284).

  3. Gilberto Rosa says:

    I don’t necessarily think that Zuckerman is jealous of Coleman’s relationship with the Faunia but I do think he that is jealous, overly-obsessed with Coleman. I actually want to continue engaging with the beginning of the book before he finds out about Coleman’s race to see if that is at the root of his obsession. On the other hand, Zuckerman could very well be angry at the fact that Faunia has a connection with Coleman and has easier access to him but I don’t necessarily think he’s jealous as a result of it.

  4. Sydney Exler says:

    I actually did not consider reading Zuckerman as jealous of Faunia until it was suggested in class – in fact, I originally thought that this passage could suggest his romanticization/idealization of Coleman’s narrative. He wants to believe that Coleman told Faunia because it provides him some relief to the psychological/emotional consequences of his passing; if he found at least one person who knew his secret, and accepted him for it, then we are left with a ‘happy ending’ of sorts that gives his life a certain sense of closure. It is ultimately Zuckerman who is tasked with the responsibility of crafting and spreading Coleman’s story, and while I agree that he could potentially harbor some jealousy over his removed position with regard to Coleman, he still maintains a significant role in all of these events.

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