59 pages 1 hour read

Markus Zusak

I Am The Messenger

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2002

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Character Analysis

Ed Kennedy

The self-castigating, compassionate, and inventive Ed Kennedy serves as the novel’s protagonist and narrator. In Chapter 2, he offers the following description of himself: “I have dark hair, half-tanned skin, coffee brown eyes. My muscles are hugely normal. I should stand straighter, but I don’t” (20). This excerpt offers insight into Ed’s personality at the beginning of the story. He can’t go more than a few sentences without criticizing himself, and he emphasizes his mediocrity. Zusak deliberately designed Ed as “the epitome of ordinariness” because he wanted to show that anyone can reach their full potential (353). If there is anything extraordinary about the deeply ordinary Ed, it’s his capacity for compassion. During his first visit to Edgar Street, he realizes that his primary duty as the messenger is to care. Over the course of the novel, Ed does just that. He intervenes in the lives of complete strangers and gives of his time, his savings, and even his blood when the message demands it. Ed needs his head as well as his heart to weather every challenge the cards deal him. Ed struggled in school, and he dismisses his intelligence by saying he simply “read[s] too many books” (211).