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58 pages 1 hour read

Gordon Korman

Swindle

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2008

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Character Analysis

Griffin Bing

The novel’s protagonist, Griffin, is an 11-year-old boy who is famous among his schoolmates for coming up with elaborate plans. Griffin begins to hatch his most ambitious plan yet after the collector Swindle cons him out of a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. Griffin is characterized by his intelligence, tenacity, and his need to be in control. When his best friend Ben refuses to go along with his plan to steal back the baseball card, Griffin feels lost because he is no longer in control. 

The same traits that make Griffin a good strategist and leader give him an overinflated sense of his power; Griffin has a savior complex that convinces him that he is responsible for solving his family’s financial difficulties. He also has a great need for adults to take him seriously. One of Griffin’s primary motivations for stealing the baseball card from Swindle is that the dealer took advantage of him because he was a kid. Griffin’s greatest moment of character development comes when he realizes that knowing the whereabouts of the stolen card makes him more powerful than all of the adults around him, but he feels lonely instead of overjoyed. Like many heroes, Griffin’s main flaw is hubris.

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