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In The Day of the Jackal there are many minor or “flat” characters that appear for a short amount of time and then disappear and nothing is said about them again. Many people say that this makes a book over-populated. They are inaccurate in making this statement. In this book the flat or minor characters contribute to the plot and help the reader to understand the book and its background with more ease. If it was not for these characters, the book would be dull and it would be more difficult to understand the plot.
One example of these characters is Bastien-Thiry, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the OAS. Bastien-Thiry showed the determination of the OAS. For example, he devised an intricate plan to execute President DeGaulle planning each possible move of himself and the president. He even calculated the amount of gun shots and when the sun would go down. Bastien-Thiry also showed the conviction of the OAS officers. For instance, when he was to be executed, he believed strongly that none of the officers would shoot him because they all knew he was right.
Another character that helped the plot is Jacqueline. Jacqueline was a member of the OAS because French Government left her brother and her fiancée on the front lines to die. This is an example of why people joined the OAS. Jacqueline was necessary to the book’s plot because if it were not for her, the Jackal would have failed earlier than he did. This is true because Jacqueline relayed the plans of the French Government and what they knew and did not know.
Another important character in The Day of the Jackal was Viktor Kowalski, one of the OAS’s thugs. Viktor showed the reader his loyalty to the OAS and the brutality of the French Government. He showed his loyalty to the OAS by not talking to any one about it and being willing to die before he would say anything about who the jackal was or what the plans were. The French took advantage of his one weakness, his love of his daughter, to lure him to France. The brutality of the French Government was portrayed when they tortured him by electrocution to get information from him. Viktor did fail in a sense though because he did tell them that the OAS had hired the Jackal, but that was just before he died.
The Baroness Collette is another minor character that contributes to the plot. The actions the Jackal took toward the Baroness proved that he was “strictly business” and professional. For instance when the Jackal met the Baroness he had one thing in mind and that was establishing a hideout. Also the incident with the Baroness proved that the Jackal was uncaring and ruthless. This was true because the Jackal showed no signs of regret or remorse when he killed her. Also the way in which the he killed her showed the reader that he had no feelings and it was “strictly business.”
All of these characters contribute to the plot in some way. If it were not for these characters, the book would not be as well written and easily understood. A reader may conclude from this book that the minor or “flat” characters are essential to the story.
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