He wasn't avoiding responsibility.. Though there was one thing he clung to. An excuse, perhaps, like the dead emperor. It was the soul of the wretch. Apathy. The belief that nothing was his fault, the belief that he couldn't change anything. If a man was cursed, or if he believed he didn't have to care, then he didn't need to hurt when he failed. Those failures couldn't have been prevented. Someone or something else had ordained them.
From a distance,' he says, 'my car looks just like every other car on the freeway, and Sarah Byrnes looks just like the rest of us. And if she's going to get help, she'll get it from herself or she'll get it from us. Let me tell you why I brought this up. Because the other day when I saw how hard it was for Mobe to go to the hospital to see her, I was embarrassed that I didn't know her better, that I ever laughed at one joke about her. I was embarrassed that I let some kid go to school with me for twelve years and turned my back on pain that must be unbearable. I was embarrassed that I haven't found a way to include her somehow the way Mobe has.'Jesus. I feel tears welling up, and I see them running down Ellerby's cheeks. Lemry better get a handle on this class before it turns into some kind of therapy group. So,' Lemry says quietly, 'your subject will be the juxtaposition of man and God in the universe?'Ellerby shakes his head. 'My subject will be shame.