Chapter 5 attempts at a critique of an exclusively cognitive theory of action, exemplified by Talcott Parsons’ approach. Seymour Levov, the protagonist of Roth’s masterpiece, is assumed as a particularly fitting example of a well-integrated personality in Parsonsian terms. Roth’s novel shows how ill-posed is any hyper-simplification of the social actor to the sole cognitive components of his personality. Seymour Levov is hence observed in the process of gradual distancing from the model of the hyper-socialized actor, whose behaviour is motivated by the compliance with social rules and a sympathetic acceptance of norms and shared values. The reader is led to gradually discover that under the apparent normality and conformity of Seymour’s demeanour the concealed motive guiding Seymour’s life and determining his action is the sense of loss of his daughter, and the nostalgia for a prospected, yet not achieved future. Seymour’s vicissitudes are adopted as illustrations not only of a tragic biography but also as the individual manifestation of the crisis of solid modernity, consequent to the crash of consolidated ways of life, ideals of order and of social upgrading. In the ideological void which issues from the crisis of old values, affectivity emerges as a problem for the individual: Seymour finds hard what once came to him easily, that is conforming his emotions to socially required standards, and is no longer able to adjust what he feels with his actual, required behaviour. By using Roth’s novel to show the discrepancy between Seymour’s managed and manifest behaviour and his emotional drives, the chapter attempts to demonstrate the relevance of emotions in social action, assuming as reference authors chiefly Ervin Goffman and Arlei Hochschild.