- Jennifer Government (formerly Jennifer Maher)
The protagonist Jennifer Government works as a Field Agent for the Government in the Australian Territories. Concerning her job she is very ambitious, which means it is hard for her to fail; she also becomes very aggressive whenever the name of the antagonist (John Nike) is mentioned, but at the end she becomes a lot calmer, even when it comes to John. A remarkable trait of her character is her way of showing emotions, because she always tries to hide them from the society. The defining characteristic for her look is the barcode tattoo under her left eye, which is connected to her past.
Nine years ago Jennifer moved from Los Angeles to Melbourne with her eight-year-old daughter Kate, because Kate’s father (John Nike) did not want to bear the responsibility for a child. Jennifer is a lovely mother, but because of her job she makes a lot of empty promises to her daughter and eventually neglects her. After her move she could not start relationships with other men until she meets Buy Mitsui who makes a perfect nanny for Kate.
- Hack Nike (later simply Hack)
Hack Nike works as a merchandising officer for Nike but is not satisfied with his job and wants to improve himself; unfortunately, he is clumsy and naive concerning his career and gets into trouble wherever he goes and by always trying his best, his clumsiness just causes more problems. Because of these traits, he signs a contract for John Nike's new marketing plan without reading it. Afterwards, he finds out that he has to kill ten teenagers which unintentionally leads to a chain reaction of conflicts. Hack is dependent on his girlfriend Violet, who helps him in every situation. Nevertheless, he is very considerate and supports her with money. Following Violet’s advice, he goes to the Police where he signs a subcontract which says that they take over Hack’s job. He thinks that Violet killed one of the two John Nikes which is why he informs the Government. Feeling pushed around by Violet, Nike, and the Police, his shy, clumsy, helpless character undergoes a change. In the course of the novel, he finds a new girlfriend, who is Violet's sister Claire, a new home and other friends. Furthermore, he loses his job at Nike's. With his self-confidence increased, he founds an anti-corporate terrorist group in order to take revenge on Nike which includes weak attacks against US Alliance.
- John Nike
John Nike is the antagonist of Jennifer Government, the novel’s main character. He is the Vice-President of marketing for Nike, so he constantly has to wear a suit. It is said that he has a good smile, which might help his abilities of dealing with people and getting out of problematic situations. He is very intelligent but is selfish, has cruel intentions, and behaves very aggressively if somebody or something is acting against his will. Furthermore, he always thinks about what is the best for him and his company, but he also has a penchent for giving into fear easily if something unexpected happens, or if Jennifer Government is involved. Believing that the large corporations should be the only power in the world, he seeks to bring this about by hiring NRA soldier Billy Bechtel to kill the president. Most of other people hate him or do not like him, but they follow his orders nevertheless; meanwhile, some others like him and even see him as a role model. John ends up getting arrested by Jennifer Government and after jail time he is offered a job with PepsiCo for a much lower position.
- Violet (later Violet ExxonMobil)
Violet is a young woman who produces software that is able to take a company-wide computer network down. As she has been self-employed for a considerable time, she is somewhat disconnected from the way that real people and the real world work, which conflicts with her ambitious and self-confident personality. She works hard to finish her software in order to become independent by selling it to ExxonMobil. Although they appreciate her software and offer her a job, they take advantage of Violet in order to manipulate computer systems of target enterprises. In fact, they do not intend to pay her. While traveling with Nathaniel ExxonMobil, she neglects her boyfriend Hack Nike. During her absence, Hack and her sister Claire fall in love with each other, and Hack leaves Violet (though he feels Violet left him, and so in his opinion he isn't doing anything wrong), causing Violet to feel mistreated by nearly everyone because she lost her boyfriend as well as the prospect of her money. She contacts Nike Vice President John Nike to help her to get her money. In the end she acts without conscience and is finally one of the losers in the novel.
Billy Bechtel is an employee of Bechtel military industries in Abilene, Texas in America. He works as a construction worker and his job is to check steel plates for tanks. One day he gets fired because of cost pressures. Instead of searching a new employment he decides to go skiing; he travels to New Zealand to ski, but he realizes that the Southern Hemisphere has backward seasons. Consequently, there is no snow.
To relax he visits an NRA shooting range and gets hired by the NRA because of his good shooting. He joins a boot camp to get trained in military tactics. During a training he has a conflict with an NRA colleague, runs away, getting mixed up with a professional NRA killer named Bill NRA.
Bill and some NRA troopers convince Billy to go with them to Australia in order to murder a police officer, named Pearson. Billy does not want to kill a human being, and runs away again but gets caught and arrested by Jennifer Government, who wants him to spy on the NRA. The NRA quickly find out that Billy is a spy.
To save himself from death or a life in an NRA prison he agrees to work as a sniper for General Li, an NRA General, who gives Billy the order to execute the Government President; he fails and is caught by Jennifer and Calvin Government once again.
The three travel to L.A. where Billy helps Jennifer and falls in love with a coupon girl working for Burger King. When a chaotic incident splits Billy from the agents for the last time, he and the coupon girl decide to escape to Colorado and go skiing.
Buy Mitsui is one of the more important characters. He is presented as a stockbroker who has doubts about his job and his life. In the past he lived in France, so he is the only European influence in the novel. Buy is very focused on his job and his mood depends on his success (though success makes him happy at least for a short time), but because he cannot deal with pressure very well, he is depressed and gets overstressed easily. Because of this, he sometimes does morally incorrect things, but does not feel comfortable with it. However, after he makes a big deal he is very high-spirited, which leads him to give $5000 to Hayley McDonald's, a girl he has never met before. But soon he regrets his generosity for he witnesses Hayley being shot and holds her as she dies.
Buy blames himself for Hayley's death and soon gets caught in a Catch-22; he could never find solace in work because of her, and if he did, his humanity would be compromised. Buy decides to shoot himself, but he is unfamiliar with firearms and so calls Jennifer Government for instructions. Immediately after his call Jennifer visits him and they start an affair. From there on his life changes rapidly. After knowing each other for only two days Jennifer asks him to take care of her daughter Kate because she has to leave the country for government reasons. At first Buy is afraid of this challenge but soon he likes it. Not long after accepting his task, the relationship between Buy and Kate becomes more intimate and he behaves like a father towards her. However, Buy becomes accidentally involved in the conflict between Jennifer Government and John Nike which greatly upsets him.
Read more about this topic: Jennifer Government
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Famous quotes containing the word characters:
“When the characters are really alive before their author, the latter does nothing but follow them in their action, in their words, in the situations which they suggest to him.”
—Luigi Pirandello (18671936)
“I have often noticed that after I had bestowed on the characters of my novels some treasured item of my past, it would pine away in the artificial world where I had so abruptly placed it.”
—Vladimir Nabokov (18991977)
“Animals are stylized characters in a kind of old sagastylized because even the most acute of them have little leeway as they play out their parts.”
—Edward Hoagland (b. 1932)