Study Guide

Charlie Dessen in Dark Matter

By Blake Crouch

Charlie Dessen

Charlie is Jason and Daniela's teenage son and...that's about all we know about him. Instead, we see the character primarily in terms of his relationship to Jason.

Sad Dad

Even at the beginning of the novel, Jason is insecure about his relationship with Charlie. Take a look: "I love my son. He means everything to me. And yet, I can't escape the feeling that I'm failing him" (1.49). Yikes. Jason's uncomfortable feeling becomes amplified after he returns to his home universe, where Jason2 has been forcibly commandeering his role as "father." Here's another gem:

There are things I want to ask my son, questions blazing through my mind.

Was he more fun?

A better father?


Was life more exciting with the imposter? (13.954-958)

Jeez, Jason, you've got to have a little bit of self-confidence.

Despite his worries, Jason must be doing something right, though, because Charlie totally pulls through and prove his love for his old dad in the novel's closing chapters. First, he makes it clear that Jason—that is, our Jason, Jason Prime—is the only father figure he wants in his life. Second, he charges at Jason2 during the climactic final encounter, giving his dad the distraction he needs to take down his doppelgänger once and for all.

Jason rewards his son by letting him choose which door they open inside the great, multidimensional box, effectively allowing Charlie to define the world in which the family will now live. That's a big responsibility.

And, well, if Charlie's drawings of crazy alien landscapes are any indication, then the Dessens are in for one wild ride.

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