Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 886
Leonard (Lenny) Abramov
Lenny is largely defined by his heritage. Born to Jewish parents who immigrated to New York from Russia, Lenny often struggles to accept his background. Lenny is self-conscious about his looks, particularly his Ohio-shaped bald spot. When Super Sad True Love Story opens, Lenny is about to turn forty and is going through a midlife crisis. He has decided that he will never die. He hopes to make enough money that he will be able to afford the longevity treatments he sells for Post-Human Services.
When Lenny meets Eunice, he is prepared to bend his entire life around hers. Eunice is not only beautiful but also seems to embody the youth Lenny has lost. Although Lenny is largely obsessed with youth culture, he is actually out of touch. His clothes are meant to signify that he is a hipster, but he cannot keep up with Eunice’s endless acronyms and slang. He has even fallen behind in his use of the äppärät. His friends have to teach him how to use the RateMe Plus model.
Although Lenny is seemingly helpless and pitiful—his äppärät reveals that he suffers from depression—he is arguably the most literate and expressive character in Super Sad True Love Story. Whereas most people broadcast their feelings to garner popularity, Lenny writes a diary and he also reads printed books (as opposed to scanning electronic summaries). Still, Lenny finds it difficult to comprehend the authors he reads. While his vocabulary may be impressive to Eunice, he often struggles to contribute intelligent conversation while hanging out with his friends.
Eunice (Eunhee) Park
Eunice, born Eunhee, struggles with her responsibilities in Super Sad True Love Story. Her parents immigrated to California from Korea and then moved to New Jersey. Eunice’s father, a struggling podiatrist, physically abuses his wife and two daughters. Eunice’s mother is a devout Christian who constantly tries to get Eunice to improve her LSAT scores, to take care of the Park family, and to marry a Korean. She also warns Eunice against “giving away her mystery.” Although Eunice and her sister, Sally, often mock their mother for her poor English and conservative advice, both feel a sense of responsibility toward their family.
When Eunice first moves in with Lenny, he provides her with a place to live and a place of safety. She controls him and often acts cold toward him in order to get her way. However, in her letters to her friends and her chats with her sister, she reveals that she has begun to care for him. She eventually admits that she loves him. Ultimately, these feelings are not enough to save their relationship.
Eunice is insecure about her ability to provide for her family. Eunice returns to New York from Rome so she will be closer to her father, a move she claims will keep him from abusing his wife and Sally. By the end of the novel, Eunice leaves Lenny for Joshie Goldman. She interprets this decision as her ability to face the realities of adulthood. Because Joshie is so powerful, she can use him to prevent her parents from being deported.
Joshie Goldman is Lenny’s boss, but Lenny views him as a father figure. Joshie appears younger than Lenny, although he is actually seventy years old. Joshie is the head of Post-Human Services within the Staatling-Wapachung Corporation. By...
(The entire section contains 886 words.)
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