Study Guide

A Beautiful Mind Parcher (Ed Harris)

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Parcher (Ed Harris)

Parcher seems like a nice enough dude at first, and he presents himself as one of the "good guys"—after all, he's working for the Department of Defense to try to crack Russian codes and save Americans from nuclear extinction. So, he must be an okay guy, right?

Well, maybe not. He actually seems downright scary when John tries to get out of the government code breaking game to protect his family:

JOHN: William, my circumstance has changed. Alicia's pregnant.

PARCHER: I told you attachments were dangerous. You chose to marry the girl. I did nothing to prevent it. The best way to ensure everybody's safety is for you to continue your work.JOHN: Well, I'll just quit.

PARCHER: You won't.

JOHN: Why would I not?

PARCHER: Because I keep the Russians from knowing you work for us. You quit working for me, I quit working for you.

Scary, right? Parcher seems pretty ruthless in his efforts to get John to stay on the U.S. government payroll. He even follows John around and harasses him when John sticks to his guns about wanting out.

Here's the good news, though: Parcher isn't, er, actually real. See, John is having delusions brought on by undiagnosed schizophrenia, and Parcher is one of those delusions. So, yeah, John is pretty ill, but at least he doesn't have Russian spies or Parcher actually after him. (We're silver lining oriented here at Shmoop, what can we say?)

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