In One of Ours, Mrs. Wheeler reads aloud to Claude, who comments that "Milton couldn't have gotten along without the wicked, could he?... It just struck me that this part is so much more interesting than the books about perfect innocence in Eden." Later in the novel, he reflects that "the story of 'Paradise Lost' was as mythical as the 'Odyssey'; yet when his mother read it aloud to him, it was not only beautiful but true. A woman who didn't have holy thoughts about mysterious things far away would be prosaic and commonplace, like a man."
In "Before Breakfast," Henry Grenfell questions his life one morning before breakfast: "and all this meant nothing to him except negatively--"to avoid worse rape."