Study Guide

Jorane Sutt in Foundation

By Isaac Asimov

Jorane Sutt

Jorane Sutt is the secretary to the mayor and the antagonist to Hober Mallow. And he's also another antagonist in the vein of Linge Chen and Sef Sermak, a politician who tries to use the political system to gain social influence and power.

As if we didn't need more proof that he's a baddie, he's also against the idea of change, partially because he believes the traditional path is the proper way to go and also because the traditional path grants him such a huge advantage.

Blah, blah, blah, do we really need to repeat all of this again? Yes, because there is a particular aspect of Sutt that you might not have noticed but is also insanely important to understanding Foundation—nay, the entire Foundation trilogy!—as a whole.

Sutt's actions are a way of trying to keep the Foundation's focus on its spiritual power rather than its trading power. This tactic is the exact same one used by Salvor Hardin in "The Mayors." But wait, Hardin was a protagonist, but Sutt is an antagonist? How can two characters trying to reach the same goal not both be considered one or the other in the same book? We're going to italicize this, because it's super important:

Because in Hardin's time, spiritual power was an innovative answer to a new problem, but in Sutt's time, it has become the catch-all for every problem the Foundation faces. 

Innovative change is good and necessary to tackle a new set of problems. But Sutt sticks with the tried and true for two reasons. First, it's easier than figuring out something new, and let's face it: most of us are too lazy to do otherwise. Remember, Shmoopers, when you point a finger, you've got three pointing back at yourselves.

But second, and more important, Sutt sticks with the traditional because the traditional is his ticket to power. It's not what's best for the Foundation; it's what's best for Sutt. Even when Mallow offers the man a compromise at the end of the story, Sutt still refuses it, not wanting to work with a "foreign ruler" (V.18.70). Sutt is really into the belief that members of the Periphery are unfit for higher offices within the Foundation. It certainly cuts down on the competition.

So, thanks, Sutt, for demonstrating the circularity of time in Foundation: what was once new and innovative is now stagnant and useless—and he's too stubborn to just let it go.