Molloy, 1951

(Great Characters in Literature)


Molloy, a one-eyed and toothless writer. In his mother’s room near the slaughterhouse, Molloy wants to die, but first he must write. Although he does not write for money and seems incapable of spending it, he is paid by a man who visits him every Sunday. Despite having a faulty memory for names, Molloy writes an account of his quest to see his mother. He begins his quest on bicycle by pedaling with his good leg and propping the stiff one awkwardly on the front axle. As both legs stiffen, he becomes too crippled to pedal and uses his crutches as grappling hooks to pull himself into a ditch, from which he is rescued. An only son, Molloy believes that he may have had a son himself but is uncertain of his own family history.

Jacques Moran

Jacques Moran (zhahk moh-RAH[N]), the elder, an agent sent to find Molloy. Moran lives an ordered, complacent life among his possessions in the town of Turdy until he receives a message from his employer, Youdi, to locate Molloy. Moran’s journey is filled with mysterious encounters, and he is forever uncertain of his way. His body begins to decay, and one leg stiffens with ankylosis, a pain that first appears while he is giving his son an enema. Moran carries more than a pound of keys in the right-hand pocket of his trousers, causing him to list to the right, and his hat is fastened under his chin by elastic. Moran dresses conspicuously in knickerbockers and boots and has but two teeth, incisors. Although he keeps chickens, game birds, and bees, Moran dislikes men and animals. He is disgusted by God even though he is a Catholic.


(The entire section is 682 words.)