61 pages 2 hours read

Thomas Wolfe

Look Homeward, Angel

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1929

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Character Analysis

Eugene Gant

Eugene develops throughout the novel as a man, son, brother, and thinker; he transcends his defined social class through his incredible intellect. From an early age, he is drawn to language and often finds escape from the real world in fiction. Caught between his allegiance to socially acceptable morality and his intense sexual desires, Eugene observes the world and people around him closely, which alienates him from true human connection. He symbolizes the dawning of a new era, as he is born at the turn of the century, and ushers in a period of growth and change that’s demonstrated as he comes of age over the course of the novel. Eugene transforms from an innocent and unsatisfied child into an independent man determined to find peace within himself.

William Oliver Gant

Gant is a tortured man who constantly seeks escape from the harsh realities of life. Gant represents the failure of dreams, as he never achieves his dream of carving an angel’s head and, dissatisfied with his life thereafter, seeks refuge in alcohol. He cycles through periods of dormant depression and violence that manifest in uncontrollable drunkenness and rage that is usually aimed at his wife, Eliza. He is full of regret, which is exhibited in his recalling of his former deceased wife’s name, Cynthia, whose death was most likely aggravated by Gant’s indiscretions.