Character Analysis: A Confederacy Of Dunces

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Analyzing a Dunce In the novel A Confederacy of Dunces, author John Kennedy Toole wonderfully depicts New Orleans in the early 1960s and protagonist Ignatius J. Reilly’s comical adventures throughout the city. When his mother (who he still lives with at the age of 30) crashes her car, he now finds that he must get a job to pay off the expenses. Ignatius has two main traits that truly define him: he is incredibly lazy and tremendously selfish. Ignatius J. Reilly is an appallingly lazy human being. He is mortified when his mother informs him that he must get a job. He has never had a job that has lasted a significant amount of time. He worked at the Public Library and was almost instantly fired. Similarly, he was fired from his college…show more content…
Reilly is also a vastly selfish man. He is constantly putting his needs in front of the everyone else’s needs. When his mother, who is quite poor, crashes her car into a building and has to pay the building's owner the cost of the damages, all Ignatius has to say is “Oh. Well, you shall have to pay him then” (Toole 41). Ignatius’ selfishness is on full display in chapter two when he attends a movie. Throughout the viewing of the film, Ignatius aggravates his fellow movie-goers by screaming phrases such as “This is going to be worse than I thought” and “Just look at those smiling morons! If only those wires would snap” (Toole 56-57). Ignatius also shows how he can be incredibly selfish by his absolute hatred of his mother’s relationships with Santa Battaglia, Officer Mancuso, and Claude Robichaux. These relationships seem to be some of only good things Mrs. Reilly has going on in her life. He despises them because they give Mrs. Reilly ideas about how to deal with his behavior. When he hears this he tells his mother things such as “Are you speaking with that Battaglia strumpet ?” (Toole 300). Ignatius constantly becomes furious when he overhears his mother speak on the phone with Santa. Ignatius also completely detests his mother's romantic relationship with Claude
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