Desire and attraction is what gives the characters in the novels we have read individuality, it is what makes them stick out from the rest. Whether it is their naiveity, beauty, or innocence the characters are the center of attention because of those traits they possess. Karl Rossman, Billy Budd, and Mrs. Ramsay are characters that possess certain qualities that make them the center of attention, but the qualities that draw in the desire and attraction are also their biggest faults, which results in their downfall; these characters are foiled by their own characteristics.
Karl Rossman is a naive young man who is coming to America because he was forced to. We can see from the very beginning that Karl has a passive aura that attracts people to him. We get an instance of his passiveness during the first paragraph of the novel, “Karl Rossman, a seventeen-year-old youth who had been sent to America by his poor parents because a servant girl had seduced him and borne a child by him…” (pg. 3). We can see that Karl let a girl seduce him, which is a passive trait opposed to a dominant one, if he was dominant he would have never let himself get into that type of trouble. We can also see his passiveness because he let his parents just send him away; there is no language suggesting he put up a fight. He let his parents treat him unfairly without a word. I came to the conclusion that his passive nature is what attracted the servant girl to him, she knew she would be able to seduce him. His passive attraction resulted in his downfall of getting sent to America with little money and few possessions.
His passiveness attract people, but his trustworthy characteristic does as well. At the beginning of the novel Karl forgets his umbrella on the ship and leaves his trunk with his belongings with an acquaintance he just met to go retrieve it. On his way to get his umbrella he gets lost and meets a stoker, “‘Do you really need the trunk?’ ‘Of course I do.’ ‘Then why did you give it to a stranger?’ ‘I had forgotten my umbrella below deck, so I ran to get it, but didn’t want to drag along my trunk’” (pg. 5). I think the stoker realized Karl’s trustworthy nature and decided to befriend him because he invited Karl to stay with him and talk for a little before they both went up. Karl possesses characteristics that make people attracted to him; they always want something from him. Both the servant girl and the stoker wanted Karl’s company. Once again though Karl’s attraction resulted in a negative effect because he lost his trunk. He stayed with the stoker instead of immediately leaving, he gave in to the attention.
It seems that Karl is always the center of attention throughout the novel, he is like a brand new toy that everybody wants to play with. One of Karl’s biggest antagonizers is Klara who at one point pushes Karl past his passive nature. The part in the novel is where Klara is wrestling with Karl and almost pushes him out of the window, Karl ends up wrestling...