Containing Appetites

From Don DeLillo’s “Underworld”:

“So what do you do? Punch the guy in the mouth or resist the urge?”

“Point well taken. I don’t have the answer. You have the answer,” he said. “But how serious can a man be if he doesn’t experience a full measure of the appetites and passions of his race, even if only to contain them or direct them, somehow, usefully?”

It’s for passages like this that I read DeLillo. His dialogue can be difficult to adjust to and at times seem very self-referential and disconnected; however, there are many quotes like the above in every book that make you (or at least me) stop and think for a second.

Update:¬†Perhaps a point of clarification is needed here in order for the quote to make any real sense. The first line is said by a young man studying under the Jesuits. The second portion of the quote are the words of a Jesuit priest at the school. I simply found it interesting because it’s not really a typical conversation that one would expect to read between a student and a priest. Anyway, hope that helps.