"And muzak. Unspeakable sounds oozed from a hidden loudspeaker, and a huge pressure of revulsion built in me as I listened"
- Muzak is background music played in retail stores and other venues.
- When Keller and Paul first meet at the beginning of the novel, they are merely student and teacher.
- By the time Keller dies and the story ends, Paul has become Keller's surrogate son and the closest thing he has to family.
- Just as with the loss of a parent, Paul wishes he had more time with Keller.
- In 1977 Paul seals the bond between the two and finally shows his true realization of and appreciation for both Keller's musical genius and how much he cared for Paul.
This relationship is symbolized by Keller's response to the muzak as expressed in "huge pressure of revulsion built in me as I listened" and "unspeakable sounds". Knowing how much his former teacher cares about good music, Paul demands that the nurse turn off the muzak. However, Keller does not care about the music, only about Paul's presence. In the end, the relationship between them is more important than the music itself.