Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Wallas, a detective who arrives in a provincial city in northern France to investigate the latest in a series of political murders. He is large and in his forties, and he has shaved his mustache for this mission. His previous assignment had been the investigation of various theosophical societies. He had applied to the bureau for which he now works and had almost been refused because his forehead measures only forty-nine square centimeters instead of the fifty that the chief, Inspector Fabius, required. He has been given his first solo assignment and is to investigate the murder of Daniel Dupont. During his investigation, he frequently wonders what Fabius would have done, even going so far as to imagine himself to be Fabius. While trying to find a killer, Wallas also keeps trying to find a certain type of eraser he once saw, hence the title of the book.

Inspector Laurent

Inspector Laurent, the man normally in charge of murder investigations in the city. He is not pleased with having his case usurped by an outsider, although he does his best to hide it. The most noticeable physical aspect of Laurent is that he is bald. Even though he does much less field investigation than does Wallas, Laurent figures out the truth of the matter by sheer reasoning ability, just as Inspector Fabius would have.

Daniel Dupont

Daniel Dupont, a fifty-two-year-old, internationally respected university...

(The entire section is 529 words.)

The Characters

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

It is difficult, if not impossible, to talk about the characters in a normal sense, that is in the sense that Honore de Balzac or Gustave Flaubert created characters. The central characters, Wallas, Laurent, and Garinati, have no first name and very little or no background. For example, all that the reader is told about their physical makeup is that Laurent is bald and that Garinati is small and has the face of a sad spider. The physical description of Wallas is limited to the fact that he is big and shaved his mustache for this assignment, and that his mentor and hero, Inspector Fabius, almost rejected him because his forehead measured only forty-nine square centimeters instead of the required fifty. Beyond that, the reader is told only that Wallas has a mother and that he had come to this particular city, as a child, to see his father, but that he did not meet him. It is also known that his previous assignment was keeping an eye on some Theosophical groups. There is strong evidence to suggest that these characters are to be seen not as individuals but as objects to be described as part of the art of writing. Such an indication comes in the interview with Evelyne Dupont, when she tells Wallas that Dupont was never alive, and when Robbe-Grillet adds, during Wallas’ interrogation of Dupont’s housekeeper, that Dupont’s death is now an abstract event being discussed by mannequins.


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

It is no accident that the objects in The Erasers have more density than the characters. Whereas more traditional novelists might...

(The entire section is 146 words.)