List of Characters
Johnny—a man who comes into the record shop almost every other day, called “Irish drunk” by Rob.
Alison Ashworth—Rob’s first girlfriend, who dumped him after three days.
Penny Hardwick—Rob’s young girlfriend who would not give into his sexual demands.
Jackie Allen—Rob stole Jackie from his best friend.
Phil—Rob’s best friend when he was a kid.
Charlie Nicholson—Rob’s first college girlfriend who Rob decided was out of his league.
Sarah Kendrew—Rob called Sarah a good match because she was just as average as he was
Laura Lydon—Laura and Rob had been living together. Laura leaves him at the beginning of the novel but returns at the end.
Ken Lydon—Laura’s dad. His death stirs Laura’s emotions and motivates her to return to Rob.
Janet—Lydon Laura’s mom.
Jo Lydon—Laura’s sister.
Liz—Laura’s friend who stays in touch with Rob.
Marie LaSalle—an American singer/songwriter whose songs make Rob cry. She has a short affair with Rob.
T-Bone—Marie's British friend who lets her stay in his apartment when she first comes to London.
Ian—a man Laura has an affair with when she breaks up with Rob.
Rosie—Rob has an affair with Rosie while living with Laura.
Paul and Miranda—Laura’s married friends, whom Rob learns to like.
Caroline—a young reporter who interviews Rob. He develops a crush on her for just a few days after Laura returns to live with him.
(The entire section is 253 words.)
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Rob Fleming is the only character that readers get to know in Hornby’s High Fidelity. Rob is the narrator, and most of what happens does so through Rob’s point of reference and interpretation. So who is Rob Fleming?
Readers know that Rob owns a record store and ranking close to his love of having women around him, Rob loves music. He knows more about music than he appears to know about himself. For example, Rob makes a lot of misstatements about his feelings for Laura. He tries to make a point, right from the beginning of the novel, that Laura can’t hurt him. And Rob is not messing with his reader’s minds when he does this. In other words, he really believes what he states, at least on the surface of things. However, the author is messing with the readers. Hornby gives his audience just enough information about Rob’s insecurities and miscalculations to allow everyone to conclude that Rob either does not know himself very well or is afraid to admit the truth. This is true in Rob’s relationship with Laura. Rob loves and misses Laura, though he is hard pressed to admit it, and she has hurt him a lot.
But this is how Rob goes through life. He has little confidence and is not brazen enough to admit that he might just have a little more appeal than he dare claim. At one point he describes himself as average: average looks, intelligence, and talents. He obviously is handsome enough and attractive in other ways to get women to be interested in him. But Rob discounts this because he just looks at the end of his relationships with women, when they walk away. He pays little attention to the fact that his lack of confidence and thus his constant need to be reassured might just be driving the women away. Rob is his own worst enemy. He believes he is not worthy and therefore he is. He is the creator of his worst nightmares.
But Rob is a very likable character too. First of all, he has very little ego, so he is willing to back down in a confrontation. He’s also capable of being a good friend, especially with his male friends who do not complicate the relationship with sex (as opposed to women). Rob has a good heart. He does not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. He is intelligent even though he has no drive to improve himself or his life. And if someone, like Laura, comes along, who can see through the protective veneer that Rob has erected around himself for protection,...
(The entire section is 532 words.)