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Among the Hidden

Among the Hidden


by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Harlan Garner

Character Analysis

This man is fierce, and we don't mean America's Next Top Model fierce. We mean Stone Cold Steve Austin fierce. Trust us, you do not want to tick off this guy.

At the mere suggestion that Luke isn't hiding well enough, Mr. Garner explodes and "slam[s] his hand down on the table" (1.14.). Easy, tiger! But we get it. Being aggressively overprotective is the way that Luke's dad expresses love for his son. It has to be a lot of pressure on Mr. Garner to not only provide for the entire family but to safeguard his illegal son.

Mr. Garner's strict attitude towards Luke definitely has an effect on the boy. While he has no problem showing emotion in front of his mother, Luke turns away from his father "[scared he might cry in front of [him]" (3.10). We'd be scared too, if Mr. Garner yelled at us as much as he yells at Luke.

Men Are From Mars

One more thing we have to bring up. After Luke goes on his rebellious house-cleaning-and-bread-baking rampage, we find out that his bread is, well, inedible. Surprisingly, this is the one thing that Mr. Garner doesn't mind:

"That's okay, Luke," he said. "I'm not sure I'd want any son of mine getting too good at baking, anyhow. That's what a man gets married for." (10.24)

Uh, what? That's an awfully prehistoric opinion for a guy living in what's supposed to be the future, and it makes Mr. Garner come across as a pretty unsympathetic figure. Our guess is that Haddix is trying to point out the differences between the old-fashioned, farming Garner family and the most futuristic, oppressive Government—but we still can't keep our eyes from rolling.