In M. E. Kerr's short story "Ive Got Gloria," what are some character traits of Scott, the main character?

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Scott, the main figure in M. E. Kerr’s humorous story “I’ve Got Gloria,” exhibits a number of memorable character traits, including the following:

  • Gutsiness: Scott shows that he is gutsy (or daring) when he calls up his math teacher, whose dog is missing, and pretends to be a kidnapper who is holding the dog for a thousand-dollar ransom.  As Scott phrases the ransom demand,

“A thousand dollars, Mrs. Whitman. A thou, in one-hundred dollars bills, and Gloria will be back drooling on your lap.”

  • Vindictive: Scott shows that he is vindictive (that is, desirous of vengeance) when he hears the teacher’s shocked reaction to his ransom demands and then thinks to himself:

Got to you, didn’t I? Did your stomach turn over the way mine did when I saw that F in math?

  • Sarcastic: Scott shows that he is sarcastic not only in the sentences just quoted but also when he reports how his teacher sounds when she responds to his demands.  Instead of sympathizing with her, he is somewhat contemptuous:

Mrs. Whitman whined, “I just don’t have a thousand dollars. I don’t know where I’ll get so much money either.” [Emphasis added]

  • Mildly menacing: Scott shows that he is mildly menacing when his teacher asks him not to hurt her dog and he responds by saying,

“Gee, what a shame that you have to worry about such a thing. She’s a sweet little dog, and I know she misses you because she’s not eating.”

Of course, all these traits of Scott are presented comically, and they seem especially funny when we discover that he doesn’t even have the dog.  They become even funnier when, at the end of the story, his teacher easily figures out that Scott is the culprit who has been harassing her and when she also reports that he will have her as a teacher in her class during the coming summer term. The joke, ultimately, is on Scott, but soon after the story begins it is clear that Scott is the target of the author’s gentle mockery.  Scott is not nearly as scary a figure as he wishes he were.



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