What does the toothache represent in the Underground Man's broader worldview?
The Underground Man’s logic around the toothache begins with the assertion that the reader will likely say the protagonist can find pleasure in a toothache. The Underground Man responds, to himself, that, of course, this is possible. The toothache represents the effects of the laws of nature. In the 19th century, the laws of nature dictated when someone got a toothache and when that toothache ended. There is no one to blame—no man, at least. The toothache is just the result of the laws of nature. The conscious man, like the Underground Man, responds to this by moaning in spite. Because he cannot...
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