When Breath Becomes Air

by

Paul Kalanithi

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The head of the lab in which Paul works during his training as a neuroscientist. He is a professor of electrical engineering and neurobiology and a second-generation Indian, like Paul. When he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he is able to work through treatment and returns to the lab just as Paul leaves, providing a model for Paul when he is diagnosed.

V Quotes in When Breath Becomes Air

The When Breath Becomes Air quotes below are all either spoken by V or refer to V. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Time Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of When Breath Becomes Air published in 2017.
Part 2 Quotes

My life had been building potential, potential that would now go unrealized.

Related Characters: Paul Kalanithi (speaker), V, Jeevan
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
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V Character Timeline in When Breath Becomes Air

The timeline below shows where the character V appears in When Breath Becomes Air. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: In Perfect Health I Begin
Science and Literature Theme Icon
Human Mortality, Strength, and Support Theme Icon
...is a professor of electrical engineering and neurobiology and a fellow second-generation Indian affectionately called “V.” With V’s permission, Paul sets out to develop technology that could write signals into the... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Human Mortality, Strength, and Support Theme Icon
Paul meets with V weekly and comes to respect him deeply for his avoidance of the politics and competition... (full context)
Time Theme Icon
Human Mortality, Strength, and Support Theme Icon
V undergoes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. They are successful, and V returns to work a... (full context)
Human Mortality, Strength, and Support Theme Icon
Paul receives a phone call from his friend and co-resident, Victoria. She tells him that Jeff committed suicide the night before. One of his patients died... (full context)