Irene Reilly: Ignatius' mother; tormented by her son's failure to make something of himself.
Darlene: B-Girl at the Night of Joy, she dreams of becoming an exotic dancer. She has a pet cockatoo that plays a prominent role in her stripper routine, since it has been trained to rip her clothes off of her.
Myrna Minkoff: Ignatius refers to her as the "minx." She is a Jewish beatnik from New York, whom Ignatius met in college. She believes that sex is the answer to many of life's problems, and she often accuses Ignatius of having homosexual tendencies. Throughout the novel, she corresponds with Ignatius by mail, and she serves as the motivation for many of his actions, as he tries to get even with the minx for her latest effrontery.
Patrolman Mancuso: A weak, inept, and unlucky New Orleans cop; his run-in with Ignatius at the beginning of the tale sets in motion a series of hilarious consequences.
Santa Battaglia: Patrolman Mancuso's aunt, she becomes Mrs. Reilly's friend and bowling partner. She decides to play matchmaker in setting up Mrs. Reilly with Claude Robichaux, and she is the primary proponent of Ignatius being committed at Charity Hospital.
Claude Robichaux: A grandfather of six, he is convinced that communists are taking over the country. When Patrolman Mancuso attempts to arrest Ignatius, Claude sticks up for him and ends up arrested himself. Later in the novel, he becomes a potential husband for Mrs. Reilly.
Ignatius J. Reilly: The story's protagonist, he is a behemoth of fat and flatulence. A medieval man at heart, Ignatius loathes everything modern or commercial. He is a constant observer, recording his own peculiar version of history on Big Chief tablets. Ignatius is also quite lazy, and he would prefer to spend most of his time at home in bed or in front of the television. Yet, when his mother crashes her Plymouth into a building, Ignatius is forced to enter the working world in order to help pay off the debt.
Lana Lee: The owner of the Night of Joy, she rules the club with an iron fist. Ignatius refers to her as the "Nazi Proprietress." She is also the mastermind behind the largest high school pornography ring in the city.
Burma Jones: An African American porter at the Night of Joy, his face is constantly hidden behind space-age sunglasses and a cloud of smoke. Working for well below the minimum wage, he remains at the Night of Joy only because he fears he will be arrested for vagrancy if he is unemployed.
Miss Darlene: A waitress at the Night of Joy with aspirations of being a dancer.
George: A young teen with oiled hair and flamenco boots, he serves as a delivery boy for Lana Lee's pornography ring.
Mr. Gonzalez: The loyal and hardworking office manager at Levy Pants. Despite the fact that he is quite impressed with Ignatius as an employee, Ignatius decides to lead the factory workers in a revolt against him.
Miss Trixie: The old, senile assistant accountant at Levy Pants, she has only two desires in life: an Easter ham (since she was never given the Thanksgiving turkey her employer promised her) and retirement. Mrs. Levy will not let her retire, however, believing that Miss Trixie needs to feel that she is wanted.
Gus Levy: Owner of Levy Pants. He tries to dissociate himself from the business as much as possible, spending most of his time at race tracks, sporting events, and spring training camps.
Mrs. Levy: Gus Levy's wife. She took (but failed) a correspondence course on psychology. She insists that Miss Trixie be kept employed (despite Miss Trixie's repeated requests for retirement), believing that Miss Trixie needs to feel wanted. Her favorite activities are making her husband miserable and writing to her two daughters, Susan and Sandra, to tell them of all the terrible things their father has done--thereby turning the girls against him.
Susan and Sandra: The daughters of the Levys, they are always mentioned in tandem; they are used as blackmail by both Mr. and Mrs. Levy as each threatens to share damning information with the daughters unless the other relents to their wishes.
Mrs. Reilly: Ignatius' mother. She loves her son but frequently complains that after all the money she spent on his education, he has not made anything of himself. No stranger to alcohol--her drink of choice is muscatel.
A Confederacy of Dunces: A Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy written by an American John Kennedy Toole, published posthumously in 1980. The story is set in New Orleans in the early 1960s. The central character is Ignatius Reilly, an educated but slothful 30-year-old man still living with his mother in the city's Uptown neighborhood, who, due to an incident early in the book, must set out to get a job. In his quest for employment he has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters.
Angelo Mancuso: An inept, yet hardworking, police officer who suspects Ignatius of being a pervert and who attempts to arrest him. His sergeant, frustrated with his incompetence, punishes him by forcing him to wear a new costume each day. If he does not apprehend a suspicious character soon, he will be thrown off the force.
Mr. Clyde: Owner of Paradise Vendors, Incorporated. He hires Ignatius to push a hotdog cart. Later, due to insufficient profits, he decides to assign Ignatius to the French Quarter and has him dress as a pirate in an attempt to improve business.
Sergeant: Patrolman Mancuso's boss who, out of frustration with Mancuso's ineptitude, forces him to wear ridiculous costumes and to spend long days sitting in the bus station bathroom. He threatens to kick Mancuso off the force if he does not shape up.
Dorian Greene: An elegant, young homosexual who runs a vintage clothes shop in the French Quarter. He buys Mrs. Reilly's hat early in the novel. Later, we learn that he throws extravagant parties. Ignatius tries to recruit him and his friends to infiltrate the armed forces and highest levels of government--so that war would be replaced with orgies.
Frieda Club, Betty Bumper, and Liz Steele: Rowdy lesbians who live in Dorian Greene's building. Always looking for a brawl, they assault Mancuso early in the novel, and they are the cause of the French Quarter brawl at the climax of the story.
Timmy: Friend of Dorian Greene who dresses up like a sailor. He gets chained and shackled to the wall at Dorian's party.
Frieda Club: One of three aggressive lesbians - along with Betty and Liz - who confront Ignatius at his "rally" at Dorian Greene's apartment.
Betty Bumper: One of three aggressive lesbians - along with Frieda and Liz - who confront Ignatius at his "rally" at Dorian Greene's apartment.
Liz Steele: One of three aggressive lesbians - along with Frieda and Betty - who confront Ignatius at his "rally" at Dorian Greene's apartment.
Miss Annie: The nosy neighbor of the Reillys, she constantly complains about the noise coming from the Reilly residence.
The Sergeant: Patrolman Mancuso's boss who berates and humiliates Mancuso as an inept officer.
Dr. Talc: A renowned lecturer on British history, he actually knows very little about the subject. He formerly taught both Ignatius and Myrna Minkoff, and Ignatius has sent him a number of letters threatening bodily injury for his fraud.
Fortuna: Lady Luck; Ignatius makes frequent references to Fortuna, suggesting that his fate is controled by outsde forces.
Mr. Zalatimo: A tall man with long black hair. Mr. and Mrs. Levy think he looks like a gangster. He replaces Ignatius in the filing department after the failed Crusade for Moorish Dignity. Mr. Gonzalez says that he seems loyal, though he has a problem alphabetizing.
“You women had better stop giving teas and brunches and settle down to the business of learning how to draw... First you must learn how to handle a brush. I would suggest that you all get together and paint somebody's house for a start.”
Book Review: “A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head.” In just 14 words, John Kennedy Toole perfectly situates us for one of the funniest novels ever written. He not only gives us a perfect physical description of Ignatius J. Reilly, but also the kind of language we will be hearing. There is much close description, a lot of squeezing into the clothes and ever so much flesh. Or look at this description, later on the first page: “Shifting from one hip to the other in his lumbering, elephantine fashion, Ignatius sent waves of flesh rippling beneath the tweed and flannel, waves that broke upon buttons and seams.” How could readers have been prepared for Reilly? It is well known now, the story of how this novel came to be. Toole wrote it in the sixties, a tale of his own New Orleans, of his own time and place, but failed to find a publisher. Eventually, in despair, he killed himself. Years later, his mother, in possession of a dirty carbon of the manuscript, managed to finally get it into the hands of Walker Percy. Percy read it, was overwhelmed by it, got it through into publication with Louisiana State University Press and it became the last small press novel to win the Pulitzer until Tinkers in 2010. It has been beloved ever since for millions of readers.
Wikipedia Article: A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel by American novelist John Kennedy Toole which appeared in 1980, eleven years after Toole's suicide. Published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a foreword) and Toole's mother, the book became first a cult classic, then a mainstream success; it earned Toole a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981, and is now considered a canonical work of modern literature of the Southern United States.
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