1. Technical information
a) Seize the day
b) Saul Bellow
c) Penguin books & 1956
e) It took me about six hours to read the book and a few hours to write the book report
a) Time: in which time is the story set?
The story took place in the early nineteenth century. I guess it is round 1930.
”who doesn’t know it’s way beyond nineteen-twenty-eight-twenty-nine and still on the rise”?
b) Time: how much time does the story take? Does it take hours, months, years?
The story takes place about one week.
”It’s already five days past the first day”
c) Place: Where is the story set?
New York (Broadway), Los Angeles (hotel Gloriana), a church
Tommy was trying to make it as an actor in Broadway, later (most of the book) he is in a rich Hotel in Los Angeles and at the end he goes to a church and start to cry and tells about all his failure in his life.
a) Main Characters:
Tommy Wilhelm Protagonist
Dr. Adler Protagonist
Dr. Tamkin Antagonist
Tommy Wilhem He is the son of Dr. Adler, who hasn’t got respect for Tommy. Wilhelm meets Dr. Tamkin and thinks this man wil save his failed life. There isn’t one sentence in the book that describes Tommy Wilhelm. What comes clear out of the story about him is this: Tommy Wilhem is a failure, an unworthy man, filled with self-pitty. . I think he is a Main character because the book is about his misrebly life.
Dr. Adler He is the father of Tommy. Dr. Adler is a well-respected man. He only knows Dr. Tamkin and tells Tommy to watch out for him ‘The handsome old doctor stood I think he is a main character because he is the father who doesn?? repect his son who’s life is a big failure. well above the other people in the hotel. He was idolized by everyone.’
Dr. Tamkin At first it looks like he’s is willing to help Tommy, but in the end it is clear that he wasn’t.
‘Wilky, perhaps you listen too much to this Tamkin, He’s interesting to talk to. I don’t doubt it. I think he’s pretty common, but he’s a persuasive man. However, I don’t know how reliable he may be.’
The book is tilted Seize the day because Tommy is a man who has a lot of failure in his life and at the end of the book he finally tell somebody about it and seizes the day wich means that the story is about seizing the day.
B: Your opinion
1. Which character did you like best?
I found Tommy very sympathetic because he has a lot of failure in is life and still lives forth with new dreams te get back at the top.
‘now I lost my job too. I lost my wife, my father’s love and now this.’
2. Which character did you dislike?
I found Dr. Tamkin the most sympathetic because when Tommy has lost his respect from his father and looks for help Dr. Tamkin betrays him and loots him from his money and disappears.
‘If you just invest a little bit of money in my I can double your money in a week.’
‘Trust me, I do it al the time. How do you think I got so rich’?
3. What did you feel when you read the story?
The two head emotions were anger because Tommy is advatualy very angry because things never worked out in his life and grief because at the end of the book Tommy starts to cry and realize all the bad things he did and feels sorry for them
‘I do fail, yes I know but you have never been there to support me.’
‘I made mistakes, I did wrong but that is past now there is a new Tommy!’
The message was in my opinion that whatever goes wrong if you don’t give up and keep trying you actually will succeed. Because in the book Tommy’s life is one big failure but he steel keep trying to get back at the top.
I didn’t like the book as much as the last book because the amount of voltage was much less than The Hobbit, but it was a good book to read in calm and that was what I liked about it.
C: The Summary
Tommy Wilhelm is a man in his mid-forties, temporarily living in the Hotel Gloriana on the Upper West Side of New York City, the same hotel in which his father has taken residence for a number of years. He is out of place from the beginning, living in a hotel filled with elderly retirees and continuing throughout the novel to be a figure of isolation amidst crowds. The novella traverses one very important day in the life of this self-same Tommy Wilhelm: his “day of reckoning,” so to speak.
As the novella opens, Tommy is descending in the hotel elevator, on his way to meet his father for breakfast, as he does every morning. However, this morning feels different to Tommy, he feels a certain degree of fear and of foreboding for something that lies in the hours ahead of him and has been building for quite some time.
The reader begins to discover through Tommy’s thoughts and through a series of flashbacks that Tommy has just recently been fired from his job as a salesman, he is a college drop-out, a man with two children, recently separated from his wife, and he is a man on the brink of financial disaster. Tommy has just given over the last of his savings to the fraudulent Dr. Tamkin, who has promised to knowingly invest it in the commodities market. Amid all of this, he has, apparently, fallen in love with a woman named Olive, who he cannot marry because his wife will not grant him a divorce. Tommy is unhappy and in need of assistance both emotionally and financially.
In the first three chapters the reader follows Tommy as he talks with his father, Dr. Adler, who sees his son as a failure in every sense of the word. Tommy is refused financial assistance and also refused any kind of support, emotionally or otherwise, from his father. It is also within these beginning chapters that the flashbacks begin. The flashbacks highlight, among other things, Tommy’s meeting with the duplicitous Maurice Venice, the talent scout who shows initial interest in a young Tommy and his good looks. Wilhelm, however, is later rejected by the same scout after a failed screen test but nevertheless attempts a career in Hollywood as an actor. He discontinues his college education and moves to California, against his parent’s will and warnings.
The chapters that follow focus on Tommy’s encounters and conversations with Dr. Tamkin, a seemingly fraudulent and questionable “psychologist,” who gives Tommy endless advice and thus provides the assistance he had looked for from his father. Whether Tamkin is fraudulent and questionable as a psychologist, and whether he is a liar and a charlatan is a question that is constantly being posed to us. Regardless, Tamkin is quite charming and appeals to Tommy. Dr. Tamkin claims to be a poet, a healer, a member of the Detroit Purple Gang, as well as claiming a number of other positions and titles. Despite his lies, he gives Tommy kernels of truth that become significant in the novella and for Tommy. Moreover, Tommy entrusts Tamkin with the last of his savings to invest in the commodities market, since Tamkin claims a certain stock market expertise.
The rest of the novella consists of Tommy and Dr. Tamkin traveling back and forth to and from the stock market, meeting several characters along the way. The novel finally illustrates Tommy’s terrible loss in the commodities in which Tamkin has invested Tommy’s money. Tommy has lost all of his savings but still has the monetary demands of his family to meet. Furthermore, Tamkin has disappeared. After an attempt to look for Tamkin in his room at the hotel, the novella comes to a close with three climaxes’two minor and one large, final climax.
First, there is the final confrontation with his father in the massage room of the hotel in which Tommy is denied any assistance one last time, as he stands before his naked father. Afterward, Tommy has a loud and almost raving fight with his wife on the telephone in which he claims to be “suffocating” and unable to “breathe.” Full of rage, he exits out onto Broadway where he believes to see Dr. Tamkin at a funeral, nearby. He calls out to Tamkin but receives no reply. Suddenly he is swept in by a rush of people and finds himself carried into a crowd within the chapel where the funeral is taking place. It is here that the final climax comes because Tommy finds himself before the body of a dead stranger, unable to break away and he begins to cry and weep. He releases pools of emotion and “crie[s] with all his heart.” It is here that the book ends. Other people at the funeral are confused as to who he is, wondering how close he had been to the deceased. The deceased is a stranger but Tommy, however, is left in this “happy oblivion of tears.”
Introduction: The introduction begins when Tommy is in the elevator
Initial incident: The initial incident begins when Tommy and Dr. Tamkin are talking about money
Rising action: The rising action begins when Tommy trusts Dr. Tamkin and gives him his last money to invest in stock market.
Climax: The climax begins when Tommy finds out that he lost all his money and Dr. Tamkin is disappeared.
Falling action: The falling action begins when Tommy walks in a church and starts to cry and tells about his live
Conclusion: The conclusion begins when Tommy stopped crying and learns from his mistakes
Seize the Day Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:
This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography and a Free Quiz on Seize the Day by Saul Bellow.
Bellow's fourth novel, Seize the Day was published as a novella in 1956 in a volume that also included three short stories-"A Father-to-Be," "Looking for Mr. Green," and "The Gonzaga Manuscripts" and a play, The Wrecker. Considered by many critics to be Bellow's finest work of fiction, the novella was immediately singled out from among its companion pieces as a major work. The powerful impact of Seize the Day comes from its tightly constructed plot; from Bellow's ability to control effectively in a concentrated form such enormous themes as victimization, alienation, and human connection; and from his creation of Tommy Wilhelm, one of his most moving protagonists.
Bellow's work before Seize the Day had attracted the attention of readers and critics, but he was particularly praised for his achievement in this fourth novel, which Baker says "demonstrates his attainment of full artistic maturity." Seize the Day deals with themes familiar to readers of Bellow's fiction, such as that of the father-son relationship, yet in this novella the concentrated structure enabled Bellow to render this theme more intensely.
At the heart of the action in Seize the Day, Tommy Wilhelm's relationship with his father revolves around Tommy's neediness and his father's disapproval of him. Tommy's problems with his father feed yet another theme of the novel and of Bellow's fiction in general: alienation from oneself and from humanity. Tommy feels cut off not only from his father and from the rest of his family-his sister, his dead mother, his estranged wife and their two sons-but he also feels alienated from himself and from everyone he meets. Bellow's ability to treat weighty themes in Seize the Day, while making Tommy Wilhelm a pitiable yet sympathetic character, explains the success of this novella: it is capable of seizing both the reader's mind and heart.
Read more from the Study Guide