In I Am The Messenger, what is a positive trait of Ed's and how does it affect the outcome of the novel?

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ariel-mcgavock eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of Ed's best traits is his honesty. It shines through both in what he does and how he views the world, and gives him an extraordinarily clear view of the world around him. He sees the town around him realistically, without casting it in an idealistic light:

The town we live in is pretty run-of-the-mill. It's past the outskirts of the city and has good and bad parts. I'm sure it won't surprise you that I come from one of the bad parts. My whole family grew up in the far north of town, which is kind of like everyone's dirty secret. There are plenty of teenage pregnancies there, a plethora of shithead fathers who are unemployed, and mothers like mine who smoke, drink, and go out in public wearing Ugg boots.

Ed presents himself in a similarly unforgiving light:

I'm nineteen. I'm an underage cabdriver. I'm typical of many of the young men you see in this suburban outpost of the city—not a whole lot of prospects or possibility.

The reader instinctively trusts Ed, what with his brutal honesty and short, clear sentences. He is all but incapable of lying to others, but disguises his honesty with sarcasm and humor.

He sees strangers concisely and truthfully, which allows him to help them. Milla's loneliness, Father O'Reilly's need for a congregation, Sophie's need to run barefoot: these are visible to Ed, while they would not be to everyone.

It is harder for him to see his friends quite so clearly, for all that he knows them. Ed sees them clearly, still, but from too close a distance—he knows that Marv is saving up an inordinate amount of money, but never thought to wonder why; he knew Ritchie and yet never thought to ask if he was unfulfilled. Audrey he sees best, likely because of his love for her; and yet until the introduction of the ace of hearts Ed never thought to help any of them.

Ed lies best to himself, but he never quite manages to sound content with his life choices, even as he claims that driving a cab is the pinnacle of his employment. His later revelation that driving a cab is less a job than an excuse comes as no surprise.