Characterization Of Music In Nick Hornby's High Fidelity

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Great authors use characterization to develop a character. In High Fidelity, Rob Fleming, a single 35-year-old man, uses music as a coping mechanism. Owning a record shop in London, Rob’s life revolves around music. The way Rob uses music to cope with his life characterizes him. In his novel, Nick Hornby uses characterization to develop his ideas of Rob’s dependency, emotions, and relationship with music. Hornby’s use of characterization in the novel shows the reliance Rob holds on music. While trying to recover after a breakup with his long-time girlfriend, Laura, Rob turns to his records to cope with his current state of pain and confusion. His records represent something that Rob can always rely on since “they belong to me, not to me and …show more content…
After Rob and Laura breakup, he realizes that “there were so many songs that I’ve been trying to avoid since Laura went” (61). Rob avoids these songs knowing that music has the power to bring up emotions about Laura that he does not want to feel. Rob tries to forget about Laura and knows he cannot do that if he listens to music that reminds him of her. This characterizes Rob as obsessive by showing that he wants to stop thinking about Laura but cannot do this easily because of the music he listens to. Rob cannot stop listening to music that he likes, even if it does bring back up old feelings, because that music helps him cope daily. Listening to this music repeatedly makes it impossible for Rob to move on from Laura. Using music as an escape, Robs feels as if “there’s a whole world in here, a nicer, dirtier, more violent, more peaceful, more colorful, sleazier, more dangerous, more loving world than the world I live in” (83). Rob can choose what type of “world” he enters when listening to records. Rob feels as if he can experience a whole other world that he can control when listening to music, bringing up certain emotions. Before owning a record shop, Rob worked as a DJ. Rob loved this job because he played music he liked for a living. It made him happy “to look down on a roomful of heads all bobbing away to the music you have chosen” …show more content…
Rob loves to sympathize for himself, saying that “I’m in this stupid little flat, on my own, and I’m thirty-five years old, and I own a tiny failing business, and my friends don’t seem to be friends at all”(74). Knowing that his record shop business is failing, but still continuing to run it illustrates Rob’s passion for music and what he does. Making music a priority in his life, shows that Rob uses it for control and emotional support. Without Rob’s record shop, he would not have anything of his own to feel proud or happy to do. Music has consumed his life, and he cannot dispose of that because of his stubborn personality. When one of Rob’s employees, Dick, starts going out on dates, Rob wants “him to show the rest of us that it is possible to maintain a relationship and a large record collection simultaneously” (159). Rob feels that the reason he cannot maintain a relationship comes from the fact that he owns a large record collection. Rob knows that his music taste and obsession with music reflects him as a person. Hornby conveys that the only things Rob knows how to do involve music. This characterizes Rob as someone who gets consumed in their interests to the point that they don’t care about anything else. Rob uses music to show emotion and if he “can’t buy specially priced compilation albums for new girlfriends, then I might as well give up, because I’m not sure that I know how to do

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