Larry Gopnik
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Larry Gopnik

A Serious Man

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About Him

Grew Up… in a Jewish-American household. Larry was destined – or perhaps doomed – to lead and re-create the lifestyle of a Jewish-American from the day he was born. His brother Arthur was brought up equally Jewish, but somehow Arthur became the less reputable of the two brothers and continues to rely on Larry’s good fortune into adulthood.

Living… on the verge of acquiring a “get,” a Jewish divorce document, in late 1960s Minnesota. Larry must procure said document at the demand of his wife, who reveals that she has been seeing Larry’s friend, Sy Ableman. Larry’s marital problems trickle down through the household, which includes their son Danny and daughter Sarah, and, for the time being, Larry’s brother Arthur.

Profession… professor of physics. Larry’s job as a physics professor is perhaps the most stable thing in his life – until a pesky student, Clive Park, attempts to bribe Larry for a better grade. It’s terrible timing for such a mess because Larry is currently vying for full tenure at his university, where he is challenged time and again by faculty and students alike. His application for tenure is still under review and although the faculty has received anonymous letters to deny Larry tenure, the jury is still out, so Larry must be on his best behavior.

Interests… morality, a happy home, a cozy marriage, and successful children. Unfortunately, all of these things have come into question during Larry’s dire crucible.

Relationship Status… married. His marriage to Judith is more than simply on the rocks – she has been having an affair with Sy Ableman behind Larry’s back. Larry still believes he can rescue his marriage, but doesn’t exactly know how to begin.

Challenge… living up to his self-proclaimed status as “a serious man.” Larry thinks of himself as an upstanding citizen of religious faith and moral rectitude. However, the more his foundations begin to shake, the less clear his moral compass appears. You could safely say that everything in Larry’s life isn’t turning out exactly as he’d hoped. Meanwhile his efforts to turn to family and religion for comfort have so far been fruitless.

Personality… meek, confused, and disturbed. Larry, like Job from the Old Testament, is the kind of person who has things happen to him, rather than the other way around. No matter what Larry believes or even does in response to his torment, the forces that be are always deciding his course for him. He can either accept his place in the rocky world, or reject it and battle against nature and God with everything he has at his disposal.

Larry Gopnik's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #3916 out of 5,600+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.

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