The unnamed man

Outer characterisation

The unnamed man is one of the main characters in Charles Higson's story “The Red Line”. He lives in London, and he has an aunt in Chiswick: “That was why he’d been riding the Underground all day with his Travelcard. Just like he used to when he visited Auntie Gwen in Chiswick.” (p. 70, ll. 3-5)

His outer characterisation tells us that he shaves all of his body hair regularly (p. 62, ll. 1-6), except for the hair on his head: “His golden locks remained, of course, falling around his ears and across his forehead in tight and shining curls.” (p. 62, ll. 6-8)

The man goes out to sing every Friday night at a karaoke night (p. 62, ll. 23-24), where he wears a special outfit: “The creamy luxury of his black shirt, the smooth slipperiness of his nylon underpants. Then he would put on his white trousers, the evening jacket he’d found in a charity shop, and finally his little red shiny shoes” (p. 62, ll. 16-20). Although we do not know anything about the man’s occupation, his second-hand jacket suggests that he is not well-off financially.

Inner characterisation

The unnamed man’s outer characterisation also contributes to his inner characterisation, as it suggests several personality traits.

The man admires himself in the mirror, and specifically admires his lack of hair and blemishes (p. 62, ll. 4-11). His behaviour suggests an excessive preoccupation with cleanliness and with his own appearance, which implies that he is both obsessive and a narcissist. Also note that he appears to enjoy having more feminine traits, which suggests he does not have a traditional perspective on mas...

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