Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The young policeman bumps into an older policeman in the staff room. Due to their age difference, they have very different priorities, and their relationship is complicated. The older officer offers the younger one coffee, but the younger one refuses like he’s been offered something disgusting. Trying to lighten the mood, the older officer asks how the interview is going and if the younger officer is okay. Irritated, the younger officer snaps that he’s fine and definitely doesn’t need any help with the interview.
For now, the older officer seems like he’s genuinely trying to help, though he doesn’t know how to connect with his younger colleague. Noting that these two officers’ relationship is “complicated” is interesting, as it suggests there’s more to their fraught relationship than just the generational divide and divergent opinions about coffee.
Themes
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Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
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Once the younger policeman leaves the staff room, the older policeman sits and sips his coffee. He’s a stereotypical older man in that he doesn’t know what to say to a young man to show he cares—but he can see the young man is hurting. Noticing that the younger officer’s shoes left blood spots on the floor, the older officer wipes them up. The older officer is shaking, and he’s definitely not okay.
Being of an older generation (part of which, this implies, means that the older officer isn’t comfortable expressing comfort or emotions to others) means that the older officer can’t connect, so he can’t help his colleague. The fact that he’s shaking and not okay suggests that he too could benefit from making a connection with his colleague.
Themes
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon