59 pages 1 hour read

Markus Zusak

I Am The Messenger

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2002

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Potential for Personal Growth

Over the course of the novel, Ed undergoes remarkable growth to reach his full potential. Zusak intentionally designed Ed to be “the epitome of ordinariness” so that his progress would demonstrate that “everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of” (353). Ed describes himself in scathing terms, calling himself a “[l]ocal loser” and a “[c]ornerstone of mediocrity” (136). Not even his act of heroism during the bank robbery boosts his low self-esteem. If anything, his 15 minutes of fame increase his awareness of his need for personal growth and his desire to shed his old self.

The aces give Ed the chance that he yearns for. Diving into the problems of strangers leads Ed to grow in compassion and courage. Among other achievements, the man who once considered himself devoid of possibility and prospects saves a woman from domestic violence, reconciles two pairs of brothers, and helps his best friend meet his child for the first time. In Chapter 34, with two aces complete and the third underway, Ed reflects on his progress. He feels as if he has become a “new person who’s full of purpose rather than incompetence” (232). As the story continues, Ed’s challenges only intensify, and he grows to meet each one.

Related Titles

By Markus Zusak