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The Outsider
This book was about a man named Cross Damon and his life. (His life that is over a span of two months where it changed dramatically.) He begins to feel that he is above life. He feels that his actions are "approved" and he may therefore act as he pleases. This reminded me personally of the last book we read. The whole book seemed to follow the basic pattern of a man feeling that his actions are uncontrollable and right. Both books also talked about the Communist party.

Cross Damon begins the book as a postal worker who drinks too much. He is out one night after his shift drinking with friends. The friends seem to be worried about his health. He tells them to mind their own business and that he likes to drink. He is a married man with children. He is not young but he is also not old. He is married to Gladys and has two sons. He also has a mistress named Dot. Dot calls and harasses him about when he is going to see her and the like. One day Dot has enough and goes to see Cross's mom to tell her that her son is having an affair with her and that she is pregnant. His mother is shocked and she calls Cross to tell him what she has learned. She also tells him that Dot is on her way to tell his wife. Cross is upset and goes to tell Dot to have an abortion.

Dot is at here home with a friend of hers. The two of them are plotting against Cross to get him to marry Dot. Cross however is a very intelligent man and he senses what the two women are up to and decides to instead torment Dot. He makes it obvious that there is no way he will marry Dot and the two women scramble to trick him into it. He then suggests to Dot that she have an abortion. Dot throws a huge tantrum about how she could never kill her child. Cross finally leaves the women and goes to see Gladys.

Gladys is not very happy to see him and she yells about how he is never home and now this girl is coming around creating trouble. Cross has now found out that Dot is not as old as she said she was and is now planning on sending him to jail for statutory rape. Cross is understandably upset at everyone at this point and starts to kind of freak out. He devises a plan to get back at everyone and make them think that he is nuts. He goes and gets his gun and hits Gladys. Then he leaves and establishes an alibi with his coworkers from the post office. Later he goes back and when Gladys confronts him he acts like she is crazy. Gladys does not fall for it so Cross does the same thing again.

Cross has no money for Gladys so he takes a loan from the post office. He takes out a loan of eight hundred dollars. He is on his way back to Gladys riding on a train when it gets in an accident. The whole train is a mess. Cross is only worried about getting off. He moves ruble and bodies until he finally is able to climb out a window. In the process he looses his coat. He is walking along with the money when he decides to stop for lunch. He is listening to the radio when he hears that they found his body on the train, dead. Cross realizes that they must have found his jacket and decided that one of the mashed up bodies was he. Cross realizes that this is his chance to run away. Gladys will receive the insurance money and Dot will have to give up the baby. He debates for a while and realizes that it is for the best. He takes his money and his gun and leaves his life behind.

Cross runs to a hotel to sort out his thoughts. He makes up a fake name and a fake past. He rents a room and pays up front. He soon realizes that the hotel is a house of ill repute. He meets a girl named Jenny. She is one of the younger "call girls" and she wants to get out of the business. She becomes "friends" with Cross. (Even though he isn't really Cross) One day Cross tells Jenny that he will buy them both train tickets to New York and that they will run away. On this same day Joe Thomas, one of Cross' old coworkers, shows up at the "hotel". Cross is scared that Joe will see him and find out that he isn't dead. This causes Cross to push Joe out the window into the snow. This starts a spree of killing for no real apparent reason in Cross' life. He realizes that he is dangerous and that he must leave without Jenny. He gives Jenny a ticket and some money. He then takes an earlier train and leaves another portion of his life.

On the train he meets a man named Bob. Bob is a waiter on the train and he is also black. This establishes a bond between the two men even though Cross starts of the relationship with lies. While Cross is sitting waiting to be served a priest walks over and asks if he can eat with him. Cross agrees and the priest joins him. While he is sitting with the priest Bob is serving a woman tea when she bangs into him and he spills the hot tea on him. The woman throws a fit and screams at Bob that she is going to sue him. Bob is looking for support and Cross jumps up to come to his defense, at the same time the priest jumps up to defend the white woman. This is supposed to show racial division.

Back at their table the priest tries to defend his helping the woman. Cross says he understands. The priests' friend comes to sit with them. He turns out to be the D.A. of New York, Ely Houston. Houston has a hunchback so he assumes that this links him and the blacks in some way. He talks at great length to Cross about life.

Later Bob comes to ask Cross if he will be a witness for him in the case with the woman. Cross says yes but then gives Bob the wrong name and address to contact him at. Houston comes and tells Cross that he would like to see him again. Cross agrees. Cross is feeling nervous about all the things he has done and realizes that he needs to get a new name and real identification. He decides to find a cemetery and pick a name so that he can go get identification. Once of the train he rents a room from a lady named Hattie. Hattie tells him of the nice cemetery that she plans to be buried in. He finds the cemetery and picks out the name Lionel Lane. Lionel was his age and had only died a few days ago. He goes downtown and buys a copy of lane's birth certificate. He asks questions about Lane and his family and then goes to see Bob. He tells Bob what he did and that his name is really Lionel Lane. Bob says it's okay but that he had lost his job and was now working for the Party.

At Bob's house Cross meets Gil Blount and his wife Eva. He also meets Jack Hilton. Gil is fascinated with Cross and how intelligent he is. He asks Cross to come live with him and his wife. Cross accepts as he is impressed with Eva. He moves in immediately not worried that he is leaving Hattie. The landlord at his new home does not like Cross and they exchange a few words. Gil is determined to let Cross live with them though and Cross learns more and more about Eva.

Eva is a painter. She does not like the party at all and she doesn't really like Gil. Cross reads her diary and discovers that the party arranged her marriage. This does not sit well with Eva and she has hostility towards everyone. He also learns that she is very curious about blacks but is somewhat afraid of them. She becomes close to Cross and begins to trust him.

One day Gil comes home and starts a fight with Herndon. They are downstairs hitting each other while Eva and Cross are upstairs. Eva does not know what to do but she is afraid that the Party will be upset if she does not do something. Then Cross snaps. He goes downstairs and kills both men. He makes it look that he had been upstairs the whole time and called the police. It was very well done and he feels no remorse because he's just that kind of person. When the police show they realize that there isn't much in the way of clues. The coroner says it looks like someone came in and killed them and then left. This makes Cross a little nervous but he then realizes that there is no way of connecting him with the murders.

Cross wastes no time moving in with Eva. The Party as well as the police question Cross trying to figure out who he is. Cross does not care. Eva is happy. She lets Cross read her diary. One day Sarah Comes over and tells Them that the Party turned Bob in for not being an American citizen and that he is being deported. She says that John Clifton turned him in and that she wishes he was dead. Eva agrees and Cross decides to go out and kill him. This man likes to kill people. He goes to Hilton's house in a way that he establishes an alibi for himself. He then sneaks into Hilton's apartment and starts to look around. He finds his bloody handkerchief that he tried to burn after he killed the two men. He realizes that Hilton knows and realizes that he has to kill him. He waits for Hilton.

When Hilton arrives home Cross confronts him. Hilton begs for Cross not to kill him but ,big surprise, he kills him anyway. Cross sets it up to look like suicide and then leaves the apartment. He then goes down to the desk and asks if Mr. Hilton is in. The desk pages Hilton's room but finds that he is not there. Cross leaves a message and then goes t lunch. The police question him about Hilton's death but Cross plays dumb and is remarkably calm. Jack's friend Menti questions Cross' whole life and why he is even here. Cross plays the fool but you can tell that Menti suspects him. Menti talks about philosophy with Cross. Cross is amazed that no one can prove that it is him even though they are so lose to the truth. He moves with Eva into Sarah's house in Harlem trying to get away from it all.

Then one day Houston summons Cross to his office. He has dug up his past and is throwing it in his face. He brings in people from Cross' past and has them identify them. These people include Gladys and his children. He tells Cross that his mother died. The whole time Cross remains "stoned faced" and admits to nothing. Then when Gladys leaves he yells at Houston and says that he had no right bringing her here. They are forced to let him go because although everyone knows that he killed the people they do not have the evidence. Cross goes back to Sarah's and tells Eva everything. Eva had already heard it from the Party but she did not believe it. She is so upset that she throws herself out of a window and dies. Cross is heartbroken. He has nothing left in the world. Houston comes over and tells Cross that he is not going to arrest him but let him live the rest of his life with the guilt.

Cross runs away. He goes to a pay phone and calls Hattie. Hattie tells him that she needs $250.00 or that they are going to take her house. Cross tells her that he will give her the money. He says that he is on his way now. She begs him not to be lying to her and then they hang up. Cross hails a taxi and is on his way when he is shot. He does not know who shot him and when he wakes up he is in a hospital. Houston is standing above him and he is glad to see a friendly face. Houston asks him if he had killed anyone else. Cross tells him about Joe. Then he tells Houston haw he hated the live he had lived and how he wished that he could tell others not to chose to live the way he had lived. He says that he did not tell the party that he had killed the men but that he thinks they are who shot him. His last words are that his life was horrible because he felt that he had done nothing wrong, that he was an innocent party. He then dies.
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The Outsider. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from