What kind of man is Gallimard? Describe him in three adjectives and illustrate each adjective with the reference to his thoughts and actions.

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teachertaylor's profile pic

teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Gallimard is a weak man who has failed at several important ventures in life.  Gallimard is awkward and unsuccessful in the realm of dating.  He refers to his friend Marc who is a "ladies man" and laments that he cannot be more like his friend.  Although Gallimard is married to Helga, their relationship is one of practicality.  Gallimard does have one affair with Renee; however, she is sexually free and simply wants to have a sexual experience rather than any type of relationship with Gallimard.

In addition, Gallimard is insecure, and his insecurities are revealed when he assumes a domineering role over Song.  He is so happy that he has a relationship with his vision of the ideal woman, and he revels in her submissive nature.  Gallimard's past trouble with women is now over, and his insecurity translates into being cruel to Song.

Finally, Gallimard is naive.  He believes in Song as the ideal woman when "she" is really a male government spy.  Gallimard allows himself to be swept up in Song's stereotypical behavior, and this ultimately leads to his downfall.

jameadows's profile pic

jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Gallimard is not, by his own admission, "witty or clever." An adjective that would apply to him is "dull." He admits that he is never the life of the party, and he is not very perceptive. For example, he believes that Song is so vulnerable and weak that he has to take care of her. In reality, of course, Song is far brighter than him. 

In his younger days, he was also not a lady's man. An adjective that could apply to him would be "meek." For example, he tells his friend Rene that "I'm afraid they'll say no—the girls. So I never ask." He likes to look at girlie magazines because he does not have the courage to face real women.

Another adjective that applies to Gallimard is "shallow." He marries a woman who is the daughter of the ambassador to Australia so he can advance professionally, but he does not care for her at all. He admits that because he is so ugly, he cares only to be with a beautiful woman. His dullness and lack of perception are what allow Song to manipulate Gallimard.