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Describe the characterization of Kugelmass. What particular characteristics make him a...

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surrounded31 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 7, 2011 at 2:29 PM via web

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Describe the characterization of Kugelmass. What particular characteristics make him a suitable comic protagonist?

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if you can help me as soon as possible i ll be really happy thank you very much and i need to use quatations with the page thanks alot

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:40 AM (Answer #1)

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The original question had to be edited down.  To a great extent, what makes Kugelmass a comic protagonist is that he features a sizable gap between reality and his own perception of self.  His own condition seems to not converge with how he sees himself.  This lack of understanding is where he enables himself to become a comic protagonist.  For example, while he sees himself as one with "soul" and akin to a dashing ladies' man, the reality is that Kugelmass is ‘‘bald and hairy as a bear" and aging.  He does not fully embrace his own sense of self and his own identity, and this is what makes him so comic in many respects.  This lack of convergence between who he is and who he thinks himself to be is where the humor arises in the disintegration between he and Emma.  It is out of this that Kugelmass,  who thinks he has manipulated a situation to his ultimate advantage without really caring for anyone else, ends up becoming a comic figure when the situation turns on him and makes his life more frustrating.  It is for this reason that he is a comic protagonist.  Kugelmass' inability to recognize reality and his place in it is what allows for the situations in the narrative to happen.  Consider the ending when he wants to be a character in Portnoy's Complaint, but ends up being inserted in a Spanish textbook, as representative of this.  It is here where his comic sensibilities are evident, in a complete refusal to accept what reality is and his place within it.

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