This section contains 1,494 words|
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Rumble Fish Characters
Smokey, named for the unusual color of his eyes, is one of Rusty James's friends and a member of the group, but he is nervous about gang violence. When Rusty James says of the "old days" when he was eleven, "A gang really meant somethin' back then," Smokey says, "Meant gettin' sent to the hospital once a week." Smokey is not a loyal friend; he sets things up to make it look like Rusty James is cheating on his girlfriend Patty so she'll dump Rusty James and Smokey can go out with her. He also tells Rusty James that if the gangs were still around, he would be president, not Rusty James.B. J.
B. J. is a friend of Rusty James's, one of the group. He is fat but tough. As Rusty James says, "Tough fat guys ain't as rare as you think."Cassandra
Cassandra was a student teacher at the high school the year before, and the Motorcycle Boy was in one of her classes. She fell in love with him, and although she has a college education and comes from a good family, she moved into an apartment in Rusty James's part of town and now follows the Motorcycle Boy around. She doesn't wear makeup, often goes barefoot, and has a lot of cats. Rusty James views her as phony because she tries to talk like the Motorcycle Boy, saying "meaningful" things. She is a drug addict, whose habit the Motorcycle Boy detests.Mr. Harrigan
Mr. Harrigan is the guidance counselor at Rusty James's school. Rusty James says, "There was something about Mr. Harrigan that made my mind go kind of blank, even when he was swatting me with a board."Weston McCauley
McCauley is a former friend of the Motorcycle Boy and used to be second lieutenant in the Packers, the local gang. He's a heroin addict now.Midget
Midget is a tall, skinny kid who notifies Rusty James that Biff Wilcox is out to get him.Motorcycle Boy
The Motorcycle Boy, whose real name the reader never learns, is Rusty James's older brother and hero. He got his name because he loves motorcycles and steals them and rides them. He is not interested in owning one, though. He is colorblind and sometimes deaf as a result of motorcycle accidents, and although he is a charismatic, natural leader, he's also odd—not quite connected to the rest of humanity. Rusty James says, "He had strange eyes—they made me think of a two-way mirror. Like you could feel somebody on the other side watching you, but the only reflection you saw was your own." He has been expelled from school for scoring "perfect tests"; it's clear that the authorities assumed he was cheating but not clear whether he actually was. It seems that he might be much smarter than the school gives him credit for because he reads a great deal. He has always seemed older than his real age, and he tells Rusty James, "I stopped bein' a little kid when I was five." When he was fourteen, storekeepers stopped asking for his ID, so he could buy liquor. At the same age, he was the leader of the gang, the Packers, and older kids asked for his advice. Later, he decided that gang violence was stupid and boring and put a stop to it. He detests drug addicts, and rumor has it that he once killed a junkie. He tells Rusty James that if he ever uses drugs, he'll break Rusty James's arm, and Rusty James believes him.Roy Patterson
Roy Patterson is a police officer who has a grudge against Rusty James and the Motorcycle Boy and is constantly on the lookout for a way to "get" them. In the end, he kills the Motorcycle Boy without warning when the Motorcycle Boy is stealing fish from a pet store.Patty
Patty is Rusty James's girlfriend. Her mother is a nurse who works nights, and Patty has to stay home and take care of her little brothers. She has bleached blond hair and is tough. She once went after another girl with a broken bottle because the girl was flirting with Rusty James.Don Price
Price is a smart-alecky kid who's been giving Coach Ryan trouble. Ryan offers Rusty James five dollars to beat him up.Rusty James
Rusty James, whose legal name is Russel James, is fourteen during the main action of the book but talks and acts like someone much older and tougher. He confesses that he's not very bright and that he has a temper. He steals, curses, smokes, drinks, and gets into fights about once a week, although he hasn't lost one in two years. He idolizes his older brother, Motorcycle Boy, and wants to be just like him because Motorcycle Boy is "the coolest person in the whole world." He doesn't think much about the future, or the past, preferring to live in the present. His friend Steve is important to him because Steve is perhaps the only stable person he has ever known. Rusty James was left alone in his parents' house for three days when he was two years old because his mother left the family, taking the Motorcycle Boy, and his father disappeared on a three-day drinking binge. Perhaps because of this, Rusty James hates to be alone and dreads the day the Motorcycle Boy will leave home for good.Rusty James's Father
Rusty James's father, whom his sons call "the old man," is an alcoholic. He has been to law school and has a large vocabulary and an educated way of speaking. He is "a middle-sized, middle-aged guy, kind of blond and balding on top, and has light-blue eyes. He was the kind of person nobody ever noticed. He had a lot of friends, though, mostly bartenders." He is completely detached from his sons and views them the way an anthropologist would view an unfamiliar tribe. "What strange lives you two lead," he says mildly when he learns that Rusty James has been cut in a knife fight.
He began drinking when Rusty James's mother left: he went on a three-day binge, and it was, according to him, the first time he was ever drunk. He says of his marriage and his downfall from lawyer to skid-row drunk, "Our marriage was a classic example of a preacher marrying an atheist, thinking to make a convert, and instead ending up doubting his own faith." This implies that his wife was some sort of criminal. He says, "She married me for fun, and when it stopped being fun she left."Rusty James's Mother
Rusty James's mother left the family when Rusty James was two and the Motorcycle Boy was six. At first, she took the Motorcycle Boy with her, but then she abandoned him, and eventually he was taken back to his father and Rusty James. She now lives out in California and apparently is still unstable, moving from relationship to relationship. When the Motorcycle Boy finds her, she's living with a movie producer but is thinking of "moving in with an artist who lived in a tree house up in the mountains."Coach Ryan
Ryan is the gym teacher at Rusty James's school. Rusty James dislikes him because he thinks the coach is a phony. The coach uses teen slang and tries too hard to be friends with Rusty James, which makes Rusty James suspicious. Rusty James says, "I hoped to hell when I was grown I'd have better things to do than hang around some tough punk, hoping his rep would rub off on me."Steve
Steve is Rusty James's best friend and, like Rusty James, is fourteen. He looks like he's twelve and acts forty. According to Rusty James, "he could say stuff that I wouldn't let anybody else get away with." He comes from a good family and is scared of violence. He is shy with girls, doesn't smoke, and doesn't drink until later in the novel. He has "dark-blond hair and dark-brown eyes and a face like a real sincere rabbit." He is, according to Rusty James, smarter than Rusty James. Rusty James protects him from other people who want to beat him up and listens to his many worries. In exchange, Steve does Rusty James's math homework and lets Rusty James copy his history homework so Rusty James won't flunk. However, this is not the only reason Rusty James is close to him. Rusty James says, "Maybe it was because I had known him longer than I'd known anybody I wasn't related to." Steve's parents, on the other hand, don't even know that he knows Rusty James.Biff Wilcox
Biff is a member of another group, formerly allies of Rusty James's group, now enemies. Rusty James notes that if the old gang wars were still going on, Biff would be leader of his gang, the Dev-ilhawks. He is tougher and more dangerous...
This section contains 1,494 words|
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)