Black Swan Green Major Character Analysis

David Mitchell

Black Swan Green

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  • Features 13 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
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Black Swan Green Major Character Analysis

Jason Taylor

Aged 12 to 13 throughout the novel, Jason is the protagonist. He has several alter egos throughout the book – “The Hangman,” who causes his stammer, holding on to words with “n” and “s” sounds; “Maggot,” who embodies all the degrading insults Jason receives at the hands of his classmates; “Unborn Twin,” who acts as a friend to Jason, and sometimes serves as his conscience; and “Eliot Bolivar,” the pseudonym Jason uses for his poetry. Jason both wants to fit in with his classmates and sees the great divide between them and himself. Jason is introspective; left home alone for a day, he decides to take a path through his village as far as it will go. He follows his conscience rather than simply doing what might be expected, as seen when he abandons his chance at popularity with the Spooks and rescues his friend Moran instead, and also when he returns Ross Wilcox’s wallet. Even when he is at his lowest (being extorted for “popularity lessons”), Jason doesn’t lose his moral ground. In many ways the Jason at the beginning of the novel is innocent; at the end of the novel, he is experienced. Experience doesn’t bring wild happiness for Jason, but he does become a more mature person who has proved he can handle the tough realities of life.

Tom Yew

Tom Yew, a member of the Royal Navy, is the closest thing to a hero in all of Black Swan Green, and is idolized by Jason and the boys his age. Tom seems to represent everything the boys respect – he has his pick of any girl he wants, he’s escaped the confines of the village, and he’s fighting for his country. When Jason is an unwitting observer of Tom Yew and Debby Crombie having sex, the experience unsettles him because it proves that Tom is a human after all. Although Tom is idolized for his bravery, he has a horrible nightmare about being attacked that ilustrates he is simply a scared boy. Tom Yew’s death in battle during the Falkland Wars drives home the point that…

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