Like the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the figure of Pierce Inverarity broods over the action as would some malevolently indifferent diety. As the characters in The Great Gatsby traveled through the ash heaps midway between their country estates on Long Island and the city of New York, ash heaps presided over by the abandoned sign of the eye doctor, still flashing in vacant desolation, so, too, Pierce Inverarity presides over the characters in search of the full meaning of his bequest. In this respect, none of the characters has a flesh-and-blood personality. Rather, each represents, in parable fashion, a particular aspect of a relationship to Inverarity, the presiding deity.
Some, like Mucho Maas—whose name suggest pure physical existence—ignore the Inverarity bequest. Mucho is caught up in his own shame at being a used-car salesman. He does not care about Inverarity, but only about his own salvation through sexual relationships with teenage girls. He is a pathological sufferer, flagellating himself with guilt and sexual misprision.
Some, like Metzger, start out seriously enough in search of the truth but soon fall away, bored or weary. Like Mucho, Metzger is essentially a comic figure. His interest in the Inverarity bequest is strictly business, for he does not share his coexecutor’s passion for the truth. He, too, is addicted to the banalities of civilized life. As Mucho’s...
(The entire section is 589 words.)