In class, you kept talking about how much of a jerk Ethan was. I know that this is not the specific wording you used, but I paraphrased it in order for me to feel comfortable enough to write this. I completely didn’t see Ethan as a jerk, so I went back over part 1. I still don’t see it. To clarify, this is what I think of when I hear the word “jerk”.
Ethan is a workaholic and his social skills need a lot of work, but he is not a jerk, at least not intentionally. I looked up the definition of jerk so give some concrete evidence behind my gut feeling. Merriam Webster defines jerk, in this context, as ” one who is cruel, rude, or small-minded.” Let’s break this down. Ethan is not cruel. He loses track of time and makes a terrible boyfriend, but cruelty requires a kind of sadism in a person that Ethan just does not have. One could make the case that he cares more about his computers than he does about people but in the worst case scenario this is negligence or even apathy but not cruelty.
There can be an argument made for Ethan being rude, especially from Roberta’s perspective. Their conversation on page 67 is a good example of this. You can tell by her narration exactly what she thinks of him and it is not positive. I will argue that is still unintentional. She has become part of his bad day and I said earlier, he has deplorable social skills. This is a minor annoyance for him. On page 70, when it switches back to his narrator, it is not a big deal to him.
He is not entirely apathetic though, he does care. He has remorse when he gets Joanna’s postcard. In my experience, jerks do not show a ton of remorse if they show any at all. He does care about his girlfriend, he just does not know how to show it. His brain works more like a computer than a human and he is bad at expressing himself. He is no doubt a terrible boyfriend, but he does care.
The one category I would say he falls into wholeheartedly is small-minded. He is definitely small minded. He has very rigid opinions and does not like to budge. This is not a necessarily a bad thing, but it does not make him popular.
So I don’t see Ethan as a jerk. I actually feel kind of sorry for him. His girlfriend did cheat on him with a married guy. Maybe I’m missing something.