The black humor or absurdist writers—among them Joseph Heller and Eugène Ionesco—offered less a specifically political and American agenda than a philosophical stance toward humanity and its condition: Life is absurd, and in the face of it all one can do, most often, is to laugh hysterically.
All of these writers belong to the rich tradition of satirists who look unflinchingly at people and their pretentions, communicating their horror and humor to the reader.
More than once he watches them sleeping, and it fills him with peace. It was this forgetfulness I envied and admired” (170).
In other words, Wilder still possesses an ability to live in the moment, an ability that Jack left behind a long time ago.
He smokes, has a nasty, persistent cough, has a limp, suffers from insomnia, and his left hand shakes, among other conditions.
Babette worries about him but he does not worry about himself. His innocence, which fascinates Jack, is often contrasted to Jack’s worried condition. Wilder has not yet learned to talk, and his mother and stepfather comment that they prefer it that way; it is as if they want Wilder to live in a state of innocence forever in the hope that some of that innocent condition will rub off on them.
Jack, who acts with much more deliberation and calculation, would never do something like that.
More to the point, Vernon make fun of his own ailments.
Jack later explains to Babette his feelings about the child: “He is selfish without being grasping, selfish in a totally unbounded and natural way.
There’s something wonderful about how he drops one thing, grabs for another” (209).