Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The narrator

The narrator, sometimes a voyeur and sometimes a participant in the action. This immigrant to America finds that he does not belong. Because of language barriers and culture shock, he becomes a victim of the city, having to steal to stay alive. He appears to be cold and unemotional, but underneath that exterior is tremendous anger, shown when he fantasizes about destroying the city that gives him so much pain. He is a wanderer searching for his self, but because he practices self-deception, the true self within him remains hidden. He yearns for peace and to be in control of his destiny. As he looks for his identity in the ways he affects others, the roles he creates change him from servant to master, from seducer to seduced, and from victim to victimizer. Everything is negative. An incomplete person molded by a brutal world, he lives at the edge of society. He hates what he is and fears what he might become. When he left a communist country, he expected to find a better life, but he is lost in an uncaring, technological wasteland. He tries in various ways to master his environment. He is cunning and devious as he literally transforms himself into someone else to achieve his goals. A good actor, he successfully fakes deaf mutism for a time. He is a college graduate, but he will do menial labor. He parks cars, works at an archaeology dig, as a photographer, cleans the rust off a ship, and drives a truck. He uses people and fantasizes about killing them. Highly imaginative but spiritually deprived, he plays games with people. His sexual encounters are games, and he tells about shocking games that he has seen others...

(The entire section is 673 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The nameless I of Steps is a metamorphic figure who appears in a variety of roles, including vagrant boy in the villages, university...

(The entire section is 311 words.)