Bringing the Text to Life
Charlie Croker was proud of his entire physique: his massive neck, his broad shoulders, his prodigious forearms ... but above all, he was proud of his back. His employees called him Cap'm Charlie, after a legendary fishing-boat captain from a hundred years ago with the same name, a sort of Pecos Bill figure with curly blond hair who had accomplished daring feats of strength.
There was a song about him, which some of the old folks knew by heart. It went: "Charlie Croker was a man in full. He had a back like a Jersey bull .... Charlie Croker! Charlie Croker! Charlie Croker!"
Whether or not there had actually existed such a figure, Charlie had never been able to find out. But he loved the idea, and he often said to himself what he was saying to himself at this moment: "Yes, I got a back like a Jersey bull!" (Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full [New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1998], 6).
Charlie Croker, the hero of Tom Wolfe's best-selling novel, appears at first glance to be "a man in full."...