Truman is a man with many faces. At times, he seems like a principled political activist, dedicated to putting his life on the line for the less fortunate. At others, he seems like a hunk with a cocky attitude and gross views about women. At others still, he acts like an artist, detached from the world and focused solely on the inside of his own head.
Basically, we're saying that the dude is complicated. Over the course of the novel, we watch Truman's identity grow and shift until, finally, he arrives at something good. And it's all thanks to Meridian.
Before we go any further, let's take a closer look at Truman's many identities:
That last bit touches on the most confusing aspect of Truman's personality: his misogyny. This part of Truman never rises to the forefront, but it can always be seen lingering in the background.
Remember how he rejects Meridian because "he [...] had been raised to expect and demand a virgin" (2.18.23)? Remember how he says that "b****es are dispensable," as if we weren't talking about real women with real feelings (2.17.29)? Although he tries to atone for these sins by chasing Meridian, he only does so to get "her brown strength that he imagined would not mind being a resource for someone else" (2.18.17).
Somehow, though, Meridian manages to get through to Truman. Maybe it's because he admires her tenacity and fearlessness. Maybe it's because he finally sees the suffering of poor communities first-hand. Maybe it's simply the delayed shock of his broken marriage to Lynne and the death of their daughter Camara.
No matter the reason, we see a brand new Truman at the end of the novel—a Truman who wants to care for Lynne as his sister and who feels maternal toward Meridian. Basically, Truman has found his feminine side and become as fearless and strong as Meridian herself. If only it were that easy for everyone!