Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The truth is that the bank robber is an adult, and this says more than anything about their personality. Adults are supposed to know everything—and every adult is certain that they’re the only one faking it. Just as the bank robber runs into the street after trying to rob the bank, they run into a police officer walking past. London hasn’t called the police yet, so nobody is looking for the robber, but the robber panics anyway. And that officer is actually a traffic warden, so they couldn’t have arrested the robber anyway. The robber runs through the first door they see, up the stairs, and into an open apartment. There, they wave their gun around and say that maybe this is a hostage situation now. The robber apologizes; they’re having a “complicated day.”
The narrator makes it clear that being an adult in today’s world is inherently stressful. Every adult, they suggest, has no idea what they’re doing and yet feels compelled to pretend that they do. This becomes increasingly hard for the robber to do after being confronted with an unexpectedly cashless bank, and things seem to spiral out of control from there. Further, the robber seems to be too stressed to make accurate judgments about their surroundings, as when they’re unable to identify the traffic warden or that they’re entering an apartment building.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Within minutes, the journalists are in front of the apartment building thanks to London; unable to speak civilly to the emergency phone operators and explain the situation, she posts about the robber on Twitter. The police get there a few minutes later, after the postman visiting the apartment building calls his wife, who then calls the police. Just as the robber closes the apartment door, a child’s drawing of a monkey, a frog, and an elk falls from their pocket. And London is right: normal robbers ask for a million dollars, but anyone who nervously asks for exactly 6,500 kroner has a reason.
Though Jack insisted the local police force is competent, that seems increasingly optimistic if it takes such an unlikely string of events to alert them to the robbery and the hostage situation. The fact that the robber carries a child’s drawing in their pocket suggests that they might have children—and this, perhaps, is why they need exactly 6,500 kroner.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon