“When You Reach Me” Character Analysis: Marcus

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Rebeca Stead’s book ‘When You Reach Me’ is a novel that brings together time travel, friendship, mysteries, and scholarship. In this book, there are a lot of different characters with different traits, like Miranda’s problem-solving skills, Alice’s shyness of going to the bathroom, and Sal’s impulsive actions. Marcus is a major character in the story, however not being the main (Miranda is the main character), helps move the plot forward, and it’s crucial for the story’s development. Marcus is a tall boy, with a curious, but yet impulsive personality, he is interested in learning and seeing what is going to happen. An interesting fact about him is that he is the only character in the story that plays a role in the novel, well he is Marcus and the laughing man.

Marcus is a 12 years old boy, who’s favorite outfit is an army green coat. He has a curious personality, which has led him to do impulsive actions. He is always reading, and by Miranda’s criteria, he is very smart and likes to think things deeply. Early in the book, he seems a very violent and problematic kid with a bad attitude, but later we see that he is just a kid that wanted to make his brother proud. He is introverted, that makes him hard to know how he is, but once you know more about it, he is just a kid with a very strong want for knowledge.

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The kid in the army green coat suffers from different conflicts throughout the novel, which helps develop the story and the ending. He suffers economic difficulties, which led him to go to the dentist at school and to meet Miranda there. He also suffers impulsive wants to do something, which leads him to punch Sal (Miranda’s best friend), starting the story that Miranda wants to tell, and that eventually leads to the laughing man (old Marcus) death. He also chases Sal to try to apologize, and this ends up in Marcus being the laughing man saving Sal’s life.

From Marcus’ actions and attitude, we can learn that impulsive actions without thinking can lead to severe consequences and that if you leave an impression on someone (like the one he leaves in Sal) it is hard to change it. Marcus also helps us realize the feeling of empathy, in trying to help Miranda understand time travel, without knowing that he was trying to understand what an older Marcus led her.

Marcus for me is one of the most important characters in the book, mainly because his explanation of time travel to Miranda helps her solve the mystery of you, who is also Marcus. He is also important because the whole story is a letter to this mysterious ‘you’ who ends up being Marcus. I find it fascinating that Marcus / The laughing man has some traits, not all of them good, that help develop the story. For example the laughing man’s ‘random’ kicks in the air where he practices ones for the real one who would save Sal’s life, but end up with his, and also make true the first note of you.

In conclusion, Marcus is a very important character in the development of the whole story of ‘When You Reach Me’. He helps Miranda solve the mystery of ‘you’, and also do some ‘random’ actions that at the time make no sense, but at the end were crucial for the story’s development. He is 3 characters in the book, Marcus in his younger life, You sometime in the mid-time, and The laughing Man in his old years, after time traveling, but you can’t realize that until you finish reading the novel. So for me, Marcus is an important character, in just a body of a kid.

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“When You Reach Me” Character Analysis: Marcus. (2020, Aug 05). Retrieved from


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