Study Guide

Lou Levov in American Pastoral

By Philip Roth

Lou Levov

Lou is the Swede's dad. He's the dang paterfamilias. He taught the Swede most of what he knows about the leather industry and is the founder of Newark Maid. Lou is a second generation American and he worked hard for the wealth he has. He's pretty overbearing, and the Swede often seems trapped between trying to please his father and trying to please others.

Lou has very set views on religion and morals. He's very concerned about the Swede marrying a non-Jewish woman. Lou is pretty positive Merry never would've turned into the Rimrock Bomber if she'd been raised Jewish. Thanks, Dad.

When Merry becomes political, he tries to show her ways to impact change which don't involve revolutionary groups. His favorite method of political activism is letter writing, which Merry finds little use for. Lou seems to love his granddaughter very much, and, as we discuss in "Foils" seems to be quite a bit like her in some ways.

Lou's moralizing gets him in trouble at the end of the novel. When he tries to force a very drunk Jessie Orcutt to stop drinking and eat some food, she stabs him in the face, and on that (hilarious?) note the novel ends.

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