I am at a point in this particular book, though, where the character, Nathan, tells about the onset of migraine headaches while he was in the military and hating it, and their continuation after his medical discharge because of them. He questions why the migraines came along, what they did for him, what, as he puts it, they signify. He traces their history to a point when he started writing short stories and wonders if he needs the headaches to write, if he is somehow becoming Virginia Wolff, whom he admired and who, he knew, suffered migraines as well.
His long dissertation on his thoughts on these headaches and his need to take personal responsibility for them is so very like my own feelings about my own. Someone who does not indulge in so much complex thinking would say, as Roth says, "I got these bad headaches", and that would be the end of it. But those of us gifted with the need to think will sometimes take things too far. Or do we?