Grew up… in Pittsburgh, Pa. James isn’t fond of his dreary hometown. In fact, he’s trying to do anything he can to get away from it.
Living… back home with his parents in 1987. James, who just graduated from college, had grand plans to go see the world until reality set in. He was supposed to travel through Europe for the whole summer before grad school, but his parents abruptly informed him they couldn’t swing it financially and that he needed to get a job.
Profession… amusement park worker. In order to save money for grad school, James took a job at Adventureland. Of course, he already has big plans to move on: “I want to be, like, a travel essayist. But I want to report on the real state of the world. You know, like Charles Dickens, for example, wrote what you might call travel books, but he visited prisons and mental asylums.” Yes, James likes to aim high.
Interests… books and culture. As a Comparative Literature and Renaissance Studies major at Oberlin College, James sees himself as a man with a taste for the finer things.
Relationship Status… single, but he's trying to change that. He's interested in his co-worker, Em Lewin. James, a romantic, has lots of lofty ideals about courtship, love and dedication. He ended another relationship because it couldn't live up to a Shakespeare sonnet he read. As he explains, “It was one of the sonnets, ‘being your slave, what should I do but tend upon the hours and times of your desires?’ And I realized I don’t want to tend to Betsy’s hours or her times.”
Challenge… swallowing his pride to work at Adventureland. Unlike most of his college friends, James has to save enough money in order to afford his post-grad life; his parents aren’t wealthy enough to float him. Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism costs a pretty penny.
Personality… educated and level-headed, yet still a bit immature. The painfully inexperienced James doesn’t know how to handle himself around the opposite sex. He knows a lot about literature, but has much to learn about life.
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