Saul takes one last walk through the Kelly house, and then drives away from it. In the coming months, he works in many different towns, never staying for long. He drives for long hours, stopping to drink heavily.
Like his parents before him, Saul becomes an alcoholic—partly, it’s implied, as a reaction to the tragic turn his life has taken, and to numb the pain of having his dreams taken away from him.
Saul takes comfort in drinking. When he’s drunk, he thinks he becomes funnier, and making it easier to make light of his deep unhappiness. At times, he plays the part of an entertainer with his new coworkers, regaling them with stories. But whenever he runs out of stories and jokes to tell, he moves on to a new town.
Like many alcoholics, Saul uses drinking as an escape from his sadness. Alcohol lessens his misery by making him less inhibited, louder and funnier. But of course, this isn’t a real solution to the problem—in the long run, it just makes him sadder.
Saul’s new life is dim—“Things glimmered,” he recalls, but “never shone.”
What’s the different between glimmering and shining? Glimmering, one could argue, evokes a faint trace of light, somewhere in the distance. Shining, on the other hand, connotes a bright, direct light, very close by. In other words, Saul is trying to “see the light,” but the light seems very, very far away.