Why does Neddy Merrill only talk with women?  

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There are several reasons why Neddy Merrill might only speak with women. First, he often meets women by the pools while their husbands are inside the house. In addition, he looks to women to provide the antidote to the spiritual emptiness he is feeling. He says of Shirley Adams, a woman he has had an affair with, "Love—sexual roughhouse in fact—was the supreme elixir, the pain killer, the brightly colored pill that would put the spring back into his step, the joy of life in his heart." He relies on physical contact with women as an antidote to the spiritual pain he is feeling, and he clearly has very little real emotional connection with others. He does not even realize that many of his apparent friends have moved, and it is obvious that he lives mostly in his own mind.

Finally, he might speak only with women in an attempt to try to recapture a connection with his wife, Lucinda, and his daughters. He names the string of pools, which he imagines represent a stream, after his wife....

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 620 words.)

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