Coming Through Bolden Character Analysis

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In Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter, the story is based on the life of Buddy Bolden, a real-life New Orleans jazz performer in the twentieth century. He was notorious for being the social butterfly of a barber by day, and a boisterous cornetist by night. Then one day everything changed as quick as a flash, Bolden vanishes into silence and ventures away from the town that is home to all of his friends and family for a turnaround of a passive life. This newly desired life opposes the dynamic history that Bolden lived, where playing jazz music once brought happiness, is now a notion in which he desires to suppress. Following a few months after Bolden’s disappearance, his wife, Nora Bass, requests that Webb, a cop and friend of Bolden’s, …show more content…

This overwhelming need causes Buddy to have a complete personality change and become isolated from society. For example, Bolden describes that Bellocq, a photographer, was “the first person I met who had absolutely no interest in my music” (55). He proceeds to befriend him and perceives Bellocq as a “window looking out,” opposed to how he saw himself and the people around him as “furnished rooms” (56). A window signifies a gateway to another place, and in this case, Buddy is persuaded by Bellocq to examine himself as a person who is more than “the famous barber,” or “the famous cornet player” (104). Furthermore, after gaining knowledge that Bolden had left, Bellocq reveals that he “pushed his imagination into Buddy’s brain” and they would talk “for hours moving gradually off the edge of the social world” (61). This showcases the degree of impact Bellocq had on Bolden, especially because he was “aware it was him who had tempted Buddy on. Buddy who had once been enviable public” (61). Although Bellocq may have not intentionally wanted to change Bolden, it causes Buddy to think critically of himself, leading to an erratic change in his behavior. Bellocq represents a new perspective in Bolden’s life from his past artistic endeavors, giving him an astounding need to be “self-sufficient,” but this need overtakes him and leads to his own mental instability. It causes him to confine solely to his own thoughts, detaching himself from the people and the environment he

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