Chapter 10 Summary

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The next night Motes again parks in front of a theater, climbs on his car, and begins to preach. He asks people to listen to the only real truth: that there is no truth. This is the foundation of the Church Without Christ. Nothing in the sky will reveal anything to them, and the Fall, Judgment, and Redemption are not real. If there were a place where Jesus redeemed them, they could go there, but there is no such place.

When several more people join his audience, Motes tells them their pangs of conscience are nothing but a trick because a man’s conscience is nothing more than his face in the mirror or his shadow behind him. Motes is preaching with such fervor and concentration that he does not notice a high, rat-colored car which has cruised twice around the block and the two men inside are looking for a place to park. Nor does he see Hoover Shoats and a man in a “glare-blue” suit and white hat get out of the vehicle. Soon, though, he sees the man in the white hat climb onto the hood of the car and is so struck by the man’s gaunt figure that he stops preaching.

Shoats walks along the sidewalk with his guitar, telling people he wants to introduce them to the True Prophet because the man’s words can make them as happy as they have made him. Motes does not even notice Shoats, as he stares transfixed by the cadaverous, almost concave man on the hood of the car. Shoats preaches, claiming the “unredeemed are redeeming themselves and the new jesus is at hand!” They need to redeem themselves at the Holy Church of Christ Without Christ, he cries, over and over in the same tone. Shoats is forced to stop hawking his wares when he begins to cough a long, deep rattle which ends in a spurt of phlegm.

A woman standing in front of Motes stares at the man in the white hat and finally asks him if the two men are twins. He tells her if one does not hunt it down and kill it, it will do the same to him. Motes gets in his car and drives home; when he arrives, Sabbath Hawks is in his bed. She is sullen and apprehensive when she tells him he can hit her but she is not leaving. She has no place to go, and she saw him strike the match in her father’s face last night. She is surprised that everyone has not realized that Hawks is just a small-time crook who turns to begging when he gets tired of thieving.

She pleads with him not to kick her out and tells him they are alike: they are both “pure filthy,” but he hates that about himself and she likes it. She promises to teach him to like it, and he reluctantly agrees that he wants to learn. He undresses and slides under the covers; she snatches his hat from his head and sends it across the room.

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Chapter 9 Summary


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