Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Three days after his last drinking binge, Don Birnam sits alone in the New York apartment he shares with his younger brother Wick. Wick has gone to meet their friend Helen at a concert after failing to persuade Don that he should join them. After a short time alone, Don becomes agitated and impulsively decides to drink again. Taking the money Wick has left for the maid, he goes to Sam’s bar. While looking in the mirror there, he conceives a short story called “In a Glass” based on his own sensitive youth and subsequent adult failures.
Don returns home and watches from hiding as Wick leaves for a long weekend in the country, a trip originally planned to help Don in his recovery. Again alone in the apartment, Don reflects on all the times he has broken his promises to the brother who is now supporting him. After another drink, he becomes elated and decides to go out. Borrowing money from a laundrywoman, he proceeds to a bar in Greenwich Village. He begins to drink and imagines himself more sophisticated than the other patrons; then, on a sudden whim, he steals a woman’s handbag. Just as he is congratulating himself on his performance as a thief, the bar’s doorman apprehends him and pushes him into the street. In acute embarrassment, he rushes home, where he drinks some more in search of oblivion.
Don awakes, not knowing if it is morning or early evening. He realizes that he has been off on another binge and that he will not be able to...
(The entire section is 1058 words.)
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