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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 339

Here are some quotes from Highsmith's Strangers on a Train:

  • "Hate had begun to paralyze his thinking, he realized, to make blind little alleys of the roads that logic had pointed out to him in New York" (9). Guy begins to think illogically because he hates his wife, Miriam, and wants to divorce her to marry the woman he truly loves. In this state, Bruno can easily manipulate the usually logical Guy.
  • "He collects cookie cutters.... Cookie cutters, honest! He's got all kinds—Pennsylvania Dutch, Bavarian, English, French, a lot of Hungarian, all around the room" (20). Bruno is describing his father, whom he detests, to Guy. His father's cookie cutter collection is symbolic of the way Bruno feels his father tries to turn him into something he is not. Bruno's disdain for his father's cookie cutters is representative of the hatred that moves him to want to murder his father.
  • "A gold penknife flashed out his trousers pocket on a gold chain fine as a string. It pleased Guy aesthetically, as a beautiful piece of jewelry might have" (30). Guy sees Bruno's penknife as they are discussing murder on the train. The penknife and the gold chain symbolize Guy's fascination with the jewel of killing his wife, Miriam. He is intrigued by the promise of it, much as he is intrigued by the penknife and chain.
  • "And who knew? Perhaps it was Bruno who kept him from getting jobs now. The creation of a building was a spiritual act. So long as he harbored his knowledge of Bruno's guilt, he corrupted himself in a sense" (113). Guy, an architect, has been tainted spiritually by his knowledge that Bruno has killed Miriam. He can't even build anymore, as he is filled with guilt over Bruno's actions.
  • "In the past month, he had washed and repainted all his bookshelves, had his carpet and curtains cleaned, and had scrubbed his kitchenette until its porcelain and aluminum gleamed" (177). Guy tries to clean his apartment in a futile attempt to cleanse his soul after killing Bruno's father.

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