Looking Backward | Study Guide

Edward Bellamy

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Looking Backward | Characters

Character Description
Julian West Julian West, who is the narrator of the novel, is a privileged 30-year-old man, born in the mid-19th century who enjoys the benefits of inherited wealth, an education, property, and a servant. It is not until Julian finds himself suddenly transported to a utopian community over a hundred years later that he begins to realize the failings of his own age. Read More
Dr. Leete Dr. Leete is a retired physician from the 20th century. He logically and sympathetically explains the intricate inner workings of the new social order to his guest from the 19th century. Read More
Edith Leete Edith Leete, a beautiful, empathetic young woman of the 20th century, is Dr. Leete's daughter. She has long admired the man who was to be her great-grandmother's fiancé, and she quickly falls in love with Julian as his successor. Read More
Edith Bartlett Edith Bartlett is a young woman in an upper-class Boston family in the 19th century. She is devoted to her fiancé, Julian West. Read More
Mr. Bartlett The father of Edith Bartlett, Mr. Bartlett is the conservative patriarch of an upper-class Bostonian family in the 19th century. He believes labor disputes have disrupted most of the world.
Mrs. Bartlett Mrs. Bartlett is the mother of Edith and wife of a well-to-do Bostonian in the 19th century. She wishes emigration, or residence in another country, could provide an escape from labor struggles.
Edith Bartlett's brother The unnamed eldest brother in the Bartlett family serves and dies in the Civil War on the side of the Union. He is buried at Mount Auburn.
Mr. Barton Mr. Barton is a preacher in the year 2000. He believes 19th-century capitalism brought out the worst in people, but that humanity's goodness has been proved since Julian West was transplanted into the new social order.
Clerk A clerk at the store in the Leetes' precinct carefully takes down orders to transmit to the central distributing center. The clerk's only concern is accuracy.
Bank director An elderly gentleman who is the director of a bank in Julian's later dream of the 19th century. He praises the bank as a thing of poetry, at the center of the business system.
Unnamed narrator The unnamed narrator of the preface is from the 20th century. He introduces the text to 20th-century readers, urging them to consider how different the 19th century was from their own time as they read the words of Julian West.
Dr. Pillsbury Dr. Pillsbury, really a mesmerist who bills himself as a practitioner of animal magnetism, regularly treats Julian's insomnia by putting him into a "mesmeric sleep."
Sawyer Sawyer is a man of color who works as Julian's servant. He not only lives in Julian's home, but he knows how to rouse Julian from his deep sleep in the mornings.
Waiter A young man in the industrial army, he serves as a waiter at the central dining room, contentedly performing his duty during his years of general, unskilled labor for the nation.
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