Study Guide

Gatwick Matthew Patil in We Were Liars

By E. Lockhart

Gatwick Matthew Patil

Gat first arrives on the island with his friend Johnny when they're eight years old. He and Cadence love each other pretty much instantly; they're head-over-heels by the time they're fourteen.

On the surface, Gat's such a typical Forbidden Love Interest ™ he might as well have windswept hair, bulging muscles, and a menacing snarl. If you could ride up to an island on a motorcycle, and if he weren't eight years old, he'd totally do it. But We Were Liars isn't a cheesy romance novel, and Gat's not the Indian Fabio. Instead, he's a smart dork, which is both his greatest strength and, ultimately, his downfall.

Ambition and Strong Coffee

This is Cadence's story, so let's take a look at Gat through Cadence's eyes. She says:

His nose was dramatic, his mouth sweet. Skin deep brown, hair black and waving. Body wired with energy. Gat seemed spring-loaded. Like he was searching for something. He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever. (4.33)

There are two main ways Gat's different from the Sinclairs: He's not rich, and he's not white. To Harris, these details will always be failings. To Cadence, however, they're part of what makes him beautiful, although we doubt she'd ever put it that way.

First the Being, Then the Nothingness

Gat has a taste for classic literature; one of the first books he mentions is Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness. He even writes the title on his hands: "on the left: Being and. On the right: Nothingness" (7.11). It's a classic philosophical text that makes a case for the existence of free will. Gat gives Cadence a copy as a gift.

Being the master of one's fate and willing possibilities into reality is mighty appealing to the Liars, who have spent their whole lives beholden to their grandfather. Without Harris's money, the Sinclairs would be nothing, and Gat shows the Liars that they can seize power and resist fate. Unfortunately, his idealism backfires big time. He goes from "being"—alive, that is—to an afterlife that Johnny describes as "like nothing, in a way" (84.14). Guess that writing he did on his hands was foreshadowing after all.

Gat is a deep thinker who wants to change the world—and he did, at least, change Cadence's before he died. We like to think she'll read the books he gave her, learn the names of the staff, and follow through with her promise to make things better for other people. For more on the ways in which Gat opens her eyes, be sure to read Cadence's analysis elsewhere in this section.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...