Study Guide

Jerome Levov (Jerry) in American Pastoral

By Philip Roth

Jerome Levov (Jerry)

Jerry's rallying cry is "the Swede, the Swede, the Swede"—he's the Jan Brady to the Swede's Marcia.

But Jerry is also an explosive hotshot cardiac surgeon who lives in Miami, and he is the Swede's younger brother. He's about Zuckerman's age. He and Zuckerman were friends as children, which is how Zuckerman got to see the inside of the Swede's house.

When Zuckerman meets Jerry at the forty-fifth high school reunion, he's a brilliant heart surgeon and has been married four times. As a kid, he made a coat from hamster skins (ew. just: ew.) and sent it to a girl as token of his affection; he didn't understand why she might be totally freaked out by such a weird gift.

Jerry yells a lot and is really hard on the Swede. He's important to the book because he's the person who reveals Merry's existence to Zuckerman, giving him the keys he needs to try to get into the Swede's head. We discuss Jerry more in "Character Roles" and "Character Clues."

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