John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy Of Dunces

806 Words4 Pages
John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces, set in New Orleans in the 1960s, features a unique main character named Ignatius J. Reilly. Ignatius, whose father passed away when he was still young, struggles to find and maintain employment to support both himself and his mother, Mrs. Reilly. He spends his days attending movies and searching for work, which he finds at Levy Pants and again at Paradise Vendors. During Ignatius’s journey, he exhibits many negative qualities and refuses to change them. Two of these qualities particularly stand out with respect to his character: gluttony and feebleness. Ignatius’s primary vice is gluttony. All of Toole’s characters serve as satirical interpretations of different stereotypes affiliated with certain types of people. Ignatius, an obese white man, is portrayed as a slob who depends on his mother, acts entitled, and eats everything in sight. For example, when Mrs. Reilly goes out and buys him twelve doughnuts, all he leaves are “...two withered pieces of doughnut out of which … the jelly had been sucked” (Toole 39). This…show more content…
The main character Ignatius J. Reilly is the personification of several prejudices about overweight white men. Two of these are gluttony and feebleness, which Ignatius recognizes but refuses to change throughout the course of his adventures. Ignatius would become a more relatable human and more attractive to the other characters if he considered his thoughts and actions more carefully. If he were to think about how claiming that someone injured him might make that person feel, he could use compassion to decide not to make such a comment. Additionally, if he were to consider the choices he makes with respect to his health, he would be inclined to abstain from gluttony. While Ignatius may not serve as a role model, one can certainly learn from his
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