Big Jeff Purcell Essay

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Big Jeff Purcell: A Character Analysis Jeff Purcell, known as 'Big Jeff Purcell,' is a classmate of the narrator of "Old School," a novel by Tobias Wolff. He has quirks, like everyone, but is unlike everyone else in the school he attends because he trusts in the goodwill of everyone. Although he is too dependent on his cousin, also named Jeff Purcell, he is compassionate, loyal, and enthusiastic. Although Big Jeff is very compassionate towards his family, unintentionally, he is not letting his cousin, known as Little Jeff Purcell, have his own identity. Big Jeff is oblivious to this, and is doglike in his loyalty to his cousin. "He haunted his room and patiently endured his abuse just to sit in the corner and watch him shave…show more content…
He was the only one in his class who was vegetarian, so he had to support his cause all on his own. The narrator says, “He’d made himself an authority on how animals were raised and slaughtered, and as we tucked into our roast beef he spared us no detail as to how it got from the pasture to the plate.”(34). Science is also a necessary skill for Big Jeff because he was the founder of the rocket club. This is a seemingly normal trait of a teenage boy, however the rocket club fueled his interest in his theory that, “our destiny was to leave Earth behind and colonize other planets” (34). Unfortunately, for Big Jeff, his ideas were seemingly implausible, broad and extensive for his peers to wrap their heads around. Big Jeff has the ideal characteristics of a student who would be made fun of because of his peculiar ways. When Big Jeff is teased, the narrator describes it, “When you did tease him he didn’t get it, he just looked at you like a puppy wondering why in God’s name you’d tied a can to his tail” (33). So again, Big Jeff is compared to a dog. This is because dogs are blindly faithful to their owners, and Big Jeff trusts that his peers are treating him well. This stops Big Jeff from getting bullied so much because his classmates feel like they’ve betrayed him if they bully him. Big Jeff is also friendly and always in kind spirits to everyone and never gives anyone a direct reason to be mad at him. Big Jeff is too dependent, however it is

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