Is Henderson regarded as an intellectual in Henderson the Rain King? Why?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Your question about Henderson does not include a title of a story or novel and doesn't name an author. I am guessing that you are referring to the novel Henderson the Rain King, by Saul Bellow. The title character in that novel is not presented as an intellectual but rather as a man who feels ignorant and is seeking answers. This Henderson is characterized as a wealthy, middle-aged, upper-middle class man who is undergoing what in more recent years has come to be described as a midlife crisis. A striking feature of the story is that Henderson keeps thinking to himself, "I want! I want! I want!" He wants something, but he doesn't know what it is. Maybe he just wants to find out what he wants. Characteristically of a Saul Bellow novel, Henderson goes off on travels and has really bizarre adventures. He goes to Africa and gets involved with lions and witch doctors. He appears to be much more a man of action than an intellectual, more of an extravert than an introverted thinker. He risks his life in various situations which are all fantastic for a middle-aged city-dwelling American. What he gets in his African adventures seems to be what he wants.

I hope this helps you some, and I hope you are querying about Saul Bellow's best-selling novel.


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