The narrator

Outer characterization

The main character in the short story “Hall of Small Mammals” by Thomas Pierce is an unnamed narrator. He works in the same building as Val’s mother, but we are not told what his job is. He has an older brother and two nieces he rarely sees, and he has no children of his own.

The fact that the narrator is unnamed and given no physical description suggests that he is meant to be seen in some way as a typical representative of a larger group, possibly representing childless people of his generation.

Inner characterization

The narrator comes across as a person who desperately longs for the approval of other people but is incapable of establishing a meaningful connection with others, possibly because of his unwillingness to invest emotionally and his lack of genuine interest in others. The narrator admits he is “a serial dater” (l. 238) and not very committed to his relationship with Val's mother (ll. 227-228). He recalls an incident when she super-glued a lamp back together, “a project that required hours of Zen-like concentration on her part and bored me enough to turn on the television” (ll. 231-232). This suggests the narrator is easily bored. This is als...

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