In Watermelon Sugar

by Richard Brautigan

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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 237

In Watermelon Sugar is a surrealist novel by Richard Brautigan. There is no shortage of strange and dreamlike quotes in this novel, which should match any angle you take for your essay about it.

For example, there’s the quote that reads:

We walked back to iDEATH, holding hands. Hands are very nice things, especially after they have traveled back from making love.

Quotes like these can help to capture the sometimes sing-song, innocent, and dreamlike prose that the first-person narrator uses. In the quote, iDEATH refers to the main commune of the novel, where everything is made out of watermelon sugar. The sun is a different color every day, as are the watermelons.

Other passages that help show the wild, random nature of the book include this one:

The heart is something else. Nobody knows what’s going to happen . . .

There’s a passage where two characters, Doc Edwards and the narrator, are having a conversation about writing a book. Doc asks the narrator how the book is coming along and what it’s about, and he responds by saying, “Just what I’m writing down: one word after another.”

Many of the quotes show this breaking down of language and concepts. It’s as if the author is trying to kill logic by continually having his characters define terms. This is similar to the effect where you can ruin a joke by overly explaining it.

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