Bobbo Druff, the narrator and main character of the story, is truly the only subject of this complex novel that has so many other threads and aspects. He represents the modern American, and his life embodies, for Elkin at least, life in America in the 1990’s. He is materialistic and corrupt; he is neurotic, psychotic, and schizophrenic (and, importantly, justly so); he is intellectual, witty, and smart; he is hopelessly middle-class; he finds relief in life by incessantly getting high on coca leaves and taking at least four different prescription medicines; he is both humor and pathos—a strangely correct mixture.
The MacGuffin is never seriously defined in the novel, yet Druff himself describes him several times in different ways. The MacGuffin is the alter ego, the devil within, the id and the ego, the conscience gone over to the other side. He is a kind of generally harmless “Sam” telling “Son of Sam” what to do. Recognizably, though, The MacGuffin is not localized to Druff’s character but is present in everyone. The MacGuffin and Druff have conversations, but The MacGuffin never directly tells Druff what to do.
Rose Helen Druff is Bobbo’s wife of thirty-six years. Her most significant role in the novel is during the flashback to her courtship and affair with Druff when they were college students in the 1950’s. Thus we see two Rose Helens: the gifted young college student, extremely intelligent but slightly deformed by a childhood disease, and the housewife she has...
(The entire section is 618 words.)