“The Journey to Mount Clemens” was written in 1966 or earlier, but The Saturday Evening Post did not accept it for publication until 1974. It was reprinted that same year in Good Samaritan, and Other Stories. “The Journey to Mount Clemens” is narrated in the first-person voice and contains a number of autobiographical elements.
The time period of the story is never stated outright, but all the details point to the 1920’s. The narrator is eighteen years old, is Catholic, has just been expelled from prep school, and has recently acquired a job through the influence of his physician father. Despite not having an engineering degree, he is working with an engineering crew from an electric power corporation. All the preceding biographical details apply to the young John O’Hara as much as to his narrator. Further, the narrator is more or less an objective observer, not the protagonist.
The scene is eastern Pennsylvania in winter. The narrator’s crew is making a tour of power plants, putting a valuation on the entire physical property of each. They have just finished their work at plant number 4 and are having their supper at Dugan’s Hotel before heading to their next assignment, a new substation at Mount Clemens. Carmichael, the chief of their party, has driven them relentlessly during the two weeks at number 4, and the men dislike him heartily. He wants to end the tour quickly so that he can return to the main...
(The entire section is 588 words.)