It's Kind of a Funny Story Characters

The main characters in It’s Kind of a Funny Story are Craig Gilner, Noelle, Nia, and Aaron.

  • Craig Gilner is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. He is self-conscious and intelligent, and he becomes more selfless as the novel progresses.
  • Noelle is a patient whom Craig meets and bonds with at the hospital. Her openness inspires Craig to be more authentic and self-accepting.
  • Nia is Craig’s classmate. Craig finds Nia attractive but realizes he doesn’t connect with her at a deeper level.
  • Aaron is Craig’s best friend and Nia’s boyfriend. He is confident but self-centered.

Characters

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Craig Gilner

Craig is the main character and narrator of the novel. Craig is a fifteen-year-old boy whose struggle with depression leads him to spend five days in a psychiatric hospital.

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During the course of the novel, Craig undergoes dramatic changes. Initially, he is obsessed with future success and making money. He feels pressure to perform at the prestigious high school he attends, and he fears that if he doesn’t he will “fail at life.”

While Craig’s time at “Six North”—the psychiatric hospital where he spends five days—doesn’t cure him per se, he gains a deeper understanding of himself and his depression. The hospital setting and his friendships with other patients facilitate his healing and help him grow into a more thoughtful, selfless person.

Noelle

Noelle is another patient in Six North. When Craig arrives, Noelle has already been there for weeks; she was admitted after she was found cutting her face with scissors. Noelle is also fifteen, and she and Craig develop a romance. She and Craig share the struggles they have experienced around life pressures. 

Craig admires Noelle for being “bare and honest” about her problems, rather than hiding them. Noelle can be seen as a foil to Nia due to her authenticity and openness. Partly because of these qualities, she and Craig develop a bond that is based on mutual understanding rather than merely attraction.

Nia

Nia is one of Craig and Aaron’s classmates. She is also accepted into Executive Pre-Professional. Craig finds Nia very attractive, so when Nia and Aaron become a couple, Craig is jealous of their relationship. He regularly fantasizes about Nia.

Later in the book, Craig’s view of Nia changes. He stops seeing her as a fantasy and begins to see her faults. Although he is physically thrilled when he has a chance to kiss her, he realizes that he doesn’t truly connect with her as a person.

Aaron 

Aaron becomes Craig’s best friend in middle school. Aaron is also accepted into Executive Pre-Professional. Craig describes Aaron as “smart and fearless,” one of “the oldest guys in [the] class.”

Aaron regularly smokes pot, and it is at Aaron’s house that Craig first tries marijuana and alcohol. Craig admits that he is jealous of Aaron, particularly of his relationship with Nia. Craig sees Aaron’s success at school as effortless, and he doesn’t realize the problems that Aaron struggles with until near the end of the novel. In the end, Craig sees Aaron as “demoted” from being his best friend.

Craig’s Mother

Craig’s mother is a source of support for Craig. Craig recognizes this, noting that “she’s taken such good care of me since I got bad; I owe her everything and I love her.” It is clear throughout the novel that Craig and his mother are close. When Craig is feeling bad, he is allowed to sleep in his mother’s bed. When Craig goes to the hospital, it is his mother he calls, and his mother who brings him what he needs. She believes that Craig is gifted, and she is proud of Craig when he seeks help for his depression.

Craig’s Father

Overall, Craig’s father is very supportive of him. However, at times he tries to make jokes, demonstrating his discomfort with Craig’s situation. During a hospital visit, Craig asks him to stop...

(The entire section contains 1312 words.)

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  • Themes
  • Characters
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