The Human Comedy Study Guide

The Human Comedy By William Saroyan

Homer Macauley of Ithaca, California, takes a job as a telegraph messenger at nights to help his widowed mother make ends meet while Marcus, his older brother, is gone off to war. Tom Spangler, the manager at the messenger service, awes Homer; Willie Grogan, the wire chief, is eloquent as well, if a drunkard.

Homer soon delivers his first wartime death notice, and the grim reality of his job and the war set in. His mother comforts him. Later at school, Homer and his rival Hubert are given detention which would cause them to miss race, but the boy's coach lies to free them. Homer wins the race, to everyone's surprise.

Later, Homer crashes a party, and Hubert punishes him by making him sing a birthday greeting to Helen, a woman both boys are lusting after. Homer then accepts Hubert's apology for the humiliation, and the two agree to make peace.

Meanwhile, at training camp, Marcus tells his buddy Tobey about his life back in Ithaca, and Tobey decides that after the war, he's going to move there and join Marcus' family. He writes Homer a letter warning Homer that he is about to be shipped out, and to prepare for his death.

Months later, Tom Spangler, who has recently married his fiancée Diana, confesses to her that he has enlisted in the Navy. She supports this decision despite being pregnant.

Meanwhile, in town, Homer sees Willie passed out in the telegraph office, and goes to get him some coffee as a message starts to come in. When he returns, Willie has obviously read the message, and it gave him a heart attack -- he is dead. Homer reads the message, and learns that his brother Marcus has died at war. Tom arrives and comforts Homer.

At the same time, Tobey, who was injured in battle, has arrived in Ithaca. Outside of his house, Homer meets Tobey, whom he knows from Marcus' letters home, and sadly accepts Marcus' class ring from him. Supported by Tobey's presence, Homer opens the front door with Tobey at his side, and yells "The soldier's come home!"

Watching from nearby, the spirit of Homer's father comments to the spirit of Homer's brother that "the ending is only the beginning".

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While some of the information here is good, much of it is innacurate. I would advise you stay away and look somewhere else!

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whats the theme supported by 5 passages in the book