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Character Role Analysis

Jake Barnes

Jake is the living, beating, bleeding heart of this novel. Sorry, that was a little gross, but you get the idea—Jake is what makes this story feel personal to us.

This is partly due to the fact that he’s our narrator, and our experience is mediated by his own. Narration aside, though, Jake is also at the center of the network of tangled relationships depicted in the novel. The central overarching conflict of the book is simply that Jake and Brett cannot be together —we keep hoping that this will change but, like these star-crossed lovers, we know that it’s impossible. This sense of yearning makes us truly sympathetic to Jake and, every time Brett has a new boy toy in tow, we feel Jake’s pain.