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Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Lenny

And due to the parents using drugs, it could mean he had more of an addictive personsnility trait also. And the fact the drugs were always there at his home. I can well see the reasons he became addictive. Not feeling complete love from his parents and then treated aloof by Joel and spoiled by Audrey.

 

 

 

 

 


lamorgan wrote:

Lenny seems to have been pulled in opposite directions his entire life.

Joel was so hard-core with him. Constantly riding him for every little thing.

Audrey, on the other hand, indulged his every whim.

And his own mother obviously loved him, but couldn't care for him by herself.

His addictions, in this light, is understandable. Add to that the fact that Audrey and Joel obviously never hid their own drug use from the children and you have a combination that screams "junky."


 

Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Lenny

Lenny is a very sad character.  He's basically been a ghost or a shadow of a person since the beginning of the book.  He is stuck in an adolescent role, powerless, and has very little real substance to offer the world. It's as if his growth as a person has been stunted by the lack of nurturing support.  We see him through the eyes of the other characters because he really just exists and floats throughout his existence with no real direction.   

 

I can't help but think that a major contributer to Lenny's personality and poor decisions is his family situation in general.  It's basically a direct result of seeing how the rest of his family interacts and reacts to him.  I mean, he sees his "sisters" try to make good decisions and be the best they can be; yet even with the best of intentions, they come up short in the eyes of Audrey and Joel, as well as in their views of themselves .  As a result, I think Lenny takes the path of least resistance and a "why bother" attitude, since the likely result of any effort on his part is destined to fail by Joel and Audrey's standards....

 

He's been acclimated to a fear of failure from the moment he became a part of their "family".   He's a supposed part of the family, however he is still an outsider on so many levels.  (This alone would be enough to give me serious self-esteem issues.)   Audrey babies him and it seems to have little to do with motherly insticts, rather it is a power trip for her..and that can't be good for his self-esteem, either.  Audrey's treatment speaks volumes about Lenny perhaps feeling  he's incapable of acheiving much of anything.  He probably believes that there's really no incentive to do anything besides what he's doing now.  So why should he put forth any effort at all?

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Distinguished Scribe
blkeyesuzi
Posts: 730
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Lenny


kiakar wrote:

And due to the parents using drugs, it could mean he had more of an addictive personsnility trait also. And the fact the drugs were always there at his home. I can well see the reasons he became addictive. Not feeling complete love from his parents and then treated aloof by Joel and spoiled by Audrey.

 

 

 

 

 


lamorgan wrote:

Lenny seems to have been pulled in opposite directions his entire life.

Joel was so hard-core with him. Constantly riding him for every little thing.

Audrey, on the other hand, indulged his every whim.

And his own mother obviously loved him, but couldn't care for him by herself.

His addictions, in this light, is understandable. Add to that the fact that Audrey and Joel obviously never hid their own drug use from the children and you have a combination that screams "junky."


 


Yes, that's an excellent point.  His role models are definitely a major factor.

Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Lenny


blkeyesuzi wrote:

Lenny is a very sad character.  He's basically been a ghost or a shadow of a person since the beginning of the book.  He is stuck in an adolescent role, powerless, and has very little real substance to offer the world. It's as if his growth as a person has been stunted by the lack of nurturing support.  We see him through the eyes of the other characters because he really just exists and floats throughout his existence with no real direction.   

 

I can't help but think that a major contributer to Lenny's personality and poor decisions is his family situation in general.  It's basically a direct result of seeing how the rest of his family interacts and reacts to him.  I mean, he sees his "sisters" try to make good decisions and be the best they can be; yet even with the best of intentions, they come up short in the eyes of Audrey and Joel, as well as in their views of themselves .  As a result, I think Lenny takes the path of least resistance and a "why bother" attitude, since the likely result of any effort on his part is destined to fail by Joel and Audrey's standards....

 

He's been acclimated to a fear of failure from the moment he became a part of their "family".   He's a supposed part of the family, however he is still an outsider on so many levels.  (This alone would be enough to give me serious self-esteem issues.)   Audrey babies him and it seems to have little to do with motherly insticts, rather it is a power trip for her..and that can't be good for his self-esteem, either.  Audrey's treatment speaks volumes about Lenny perhaps feeling  he's incapable of acheiving much of anything.  He probably believes that there's really no incentive to do anything besides what he's doing now.  So why should he put forth any effort at all?


Very true, Suzi. I think it would also have been impossible for Lenny to engage in the kind of social activism that Rosa and, to a lesser degree, Karla emulate, given the profound impact radical politicism has had on his life.

Contributor
lenoreva
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
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Re: Lenny

Lenny is definitely written as sort of tragic character who lets himself be a product of his familial environment.  But I really have little patience for people who play the victim card.  Still I have hope that he'll be able to grow beyond his background and find his place in life.
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Lenny

This may sound weird but I thought Lenny was less a victim than Karla. As self-destructive as Lenny's behavior is, he seems content with his choices. I realize that when someone is willfully choosing drug abuse there's obviously some deeper problem going on, but Karla was just so self-consciously allowing herself to be a victim. I wonder how aware Lenny is of his problems or his victimhood?

Wordsmith
marciliogq
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎02-22-2008
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Re: Lenny

[ Edited ]
Lenny is speechless practically all of the novel. Zoë Heller used a great literary resource to represent the minority with no voice. Lenny is an adoptive son, uses drugs, his mother is in prison, he doesn't  know who is his biological father, had attitudes of vandalism. We know that people like Lenny have no opportunities in a society whose beliefs are conected to a model of perfection and equilibrium. He's the representation of what people will never wish themselves or even hear. Because of this, perhaps, Lenny is seen by the others eyes. It represents with fidelity how important is an exterior view of society  towards people and the unimportance of these people's opinion return (like Lenny) to their own points of view.
Message Edited by marciliogq on 11-19-2008 11:00 AM
Message Edited by marciliogq on 11-19-2008 11:02 AM
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Lenny

I hope it is not too late to get your thoughts about this idea.  I've been thinking, could Joel also have fathered Lenny?  With all of his affairs it seems more than likely that it could be a possibility.  I wish I thought to ask Zoe that when I had the chance.  :smileysad:
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
Correspondent
detailmuse
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎01-24-2008
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Re: Lenny

[ Edited ]

Carmenere_lady wrote:
I hope it is not too late to get your thoughts about this idea.  I've been thinking, could Joel also have fathered Lenny?  With all of his affairs it seems more than likely that it could be a possibility.  I wish I thought to ask Zoe that when I had the chance.  :smileysad:

 

I thought that, too, somewhere in the first half of the book but then not again. I wondered if it was a trace left of something Heller had once had in the story and then took out, or hinted to foreshadow Jamil's paternity? I went back now to see if I could find what gave me the idea and can only point to p 148:

 

"Yeah, well, it's a big thing,  taking on another person's kid," Joel had muttered. He was pulling on his pants at the time, hurrying to get to the police station to see Susan. He glanced at Lenny...

 

I think his muttering, his rushing, a sense of avoidance/unease made me wonder. And "to see Susan" sounds more personal than lawyerly matters.

Message Edited by detailmuse on 11-20-2008 07:48 AM
Wordsmith
marciliogq
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎02-22-2008
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Re: Lenny

Even Audrey having related all her husband's betrayals and sexual relations I didn't suppose Lenny should be his son. For a moment, when I read the quotation on page 148 I could see that the adjectives to describe the moment of the relationship with Lenny's mother were important to show their connection was not only between a lawyer and a client. When Lenny's story is told we realize a kind of negation or refusal from Joel. He doesn't want to approach the boy. Perhaps it can be a clue to Lenny's paternity.
Correspondent
PinkPanther
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-26-2008
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Re: Lenny

I feel that Lenny made some improvement when he stayed with Jane, but when he got back to NY, he went back to his old ways. I think that Lenny is going to live the rest of his life as a druggie who freeloads off of Audrey. I really thought that he was going to end up a better man, but I was wrong.
"I ought, therefore I can"
-Immanuel Kant
Frequent Contributor
mgorbatjuk
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎04-12-2008
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Re: Lenny

That's a good thought. Lenny really being Joel's son. But how would it be that she favors Lenny the most? We know Audrey knows about the affairs Joel has had-although she is taken aback when she finds out he really does have a child by another woman.
Wordsmith
kpatton
Posts: 206
Registered: ‎11-27-2006
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Re: Lenny


nikkid wrote:

I enjoyed the character of Lenny.  In my opinion, Lenny didn't have much of a belief system at all.  Unlike the rest of his family, it seems to me that he just did whatever it was he wanted to and whatever brought him immediate pleasure.  This was in stark contrast to the other members of his family who sometimes just thought too much. 

Although I did not agree with his personal lifestyle.  I did find him to be that character that brought with him a breath of fresh air!


I'm not sure I thought Lenny was a breath of fresh air but I agree that he was the opposite of everyone else in his family.  As I read Audrey telling about what her marriage meant to her, I almost thought she put Lenny in the same position.  A position of being taken care of.  Being taken out of a life going no where and being given a new start.  Audrey was trying to do for Lenny what Joey did for her.

Kpatton