Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Jim/Jack’s Dad/The Older Policeman Character Analysis

Jim is the senior policeman on the scene of the hostage drama. He works with his son, Jack, and though Jim loves his son, the two seldom get along. Unlike Jack, Jim thinks computers are magic and makes sure every report he writes is a story, as he wanted to be a writer when he was younger. He’s also still grieving his wife’s death. Jim is far more concerned with doing the right thing than with doing his job well. As he and Jack manage the hostage drama, Jim is bumbling and inefficient—though later, it’s revealed that this is on purpose. Jim defies Jack to take pizzas up to the robber and the hostages, and there, he speaks to the robber. As the robber looks so much like his daughter, Jack’s sister, who’s addicted to heroin, Jim sympathizes with the robber and helps her escape. He thus spends much of the day lying to Jack as Jack genuinely tries to figure out what happened to the robber. Ultimately, though, Jim tells Jack the truth. Though Jim might not be able to voice how proud he is of Jack, the narrator makes it clear that he is immensely proud of him.

Jim/Jack’s Dad/The Older Policeman Quotes in Anxious People

The Anxious People quotes below are all either spoken by Jim/Jack’s Dad/The Older Policeman or refer to Jim/Jack’s Dad/The Older Policeman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
).
Chapter 1  Quotes

Sometimes it hurts, it really hurts, for no other reason than the fact that our skin doesn’t feel like it’s ours. Sometimes we panic, because the bills need paying and we have to be grown-up and we don’t know how, because it’s so horribly, desperately easy to fail at being grown-up.

Because everyone loves someone, and anyone who loves someone has had those desperate nights where we lie awake trying to figure out how we can afford to carry on being human beings. Sometimes that makes us do things that seem ridiculous in hindsight, but which felt like the only way out at the time.

One single really bad idea. That’s all it takes.

Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 65 Quotes

Because it wasn’t Lennart who opened the door when Jim showed up with the pizzas. It was the bank robber, the real bank robber. Both Roger and Lennart had insisted on being allowed to wear the ski mask, but after a long pause she had said no. She had looked at them, her voice gentle with appreciation, and then given them a determined nod.

“Obviously I can’t set a good example to my daughters and teach them not to do idiotic things now. But I might at least be able to show them how you take responsibility for your actions.”

Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:

“What did you need the money from the bank robbery for?”

The desperation on her face revealed the chaos in her heart as she said: “To pay the rent. I needed six thousand five hundred. My husband’s lawyer was threatening to take the girls away from me if I didn’t have anywhere to live.”

Jim held onto the handrail to stop himself collapsing as his heart broke. Empathy is like vertigo. Six thousand five hundred, because she thought she’d lose her children otherwise. Her children.

“There are rules, legislation, no one can just take your children away from you simply because…,” he began, then thought better of it and said: “But now they can…now you’ve held up a bank and…” His voice almost gave out as he whispered: “You poor child, what have you got yourself mixed up in?”

Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 67 Quotes

“You’re a good police officer, son,” Jim will say, looking down at the ground. He’ll want to add but an even better person, but won’t be able to bring himself to say it.

“You’re not always such a damn good police officer, Dad,” Jack will grin up at the clouds. He’ll want to add but I’ve learned everything else from you, but the words won’t quite come out.

They’ll go home. Watch television. Have a beer together.

That’s enough.

Page Number: 312
Explanation and Analysis:
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Anxious People PDF

Jim/Jack’s Dad/The Older Policeman Character Timeline in Anxious People

The timeline below shows where the character Jim/Jack’s Dad/The Older Policeman appears in Anxious People. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...all of them at once. Steadying himself and wishing he’d chosen a different profession ( his dad disapproves, while his mom, a priest, totally gets it), the officer says they need to... (full context)
Chapter 8
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
The young policeman bumps into an older policeman in the staff room. Due to their age difference, they have very different priorities, and... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Once the younger policeman leaves the staff room, the older policeman sits and sips his coffee. He’s a stereotypical older man in that he doesn’t know... (full context)
Chapter 9
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...to pull out a crumpled sheet of paper to show the real estate agent, the older policeman shuffles into the room. The older officer offers his help, but the younger officer snaps... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Surprised, the older policeman observes the younger policeman hasn’t told the real estate agent yet. The younger officer begins... (full context)
Chapter 10
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...was a teenage boy. That boy ran to help, since his mom was a priest, his dad was a policeman, and he believed you should help people when you can. The boy... (full context)
Chapter 11
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Ten years later, in the present, the young policeman stands outside the interview room, while his dad sits inside with the real estate agent. The young officer’s mom was right: he and... (full context)
Chapter 12
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Back in the interview with the real estate agent, the older policeman awkwardly explains that the young policeman is his son. He adds that his wife didn’t... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...at the wall, where it breaks and stains the wall. The older policeman’s name is Jim, and his son, the younger officer, is Jack. They are, as usual, sitting at their... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Jim also has a picture of Jack’s older sister on his desk, but she never comes... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Now, Jim watches Jack type. Jack is clearly frustrated; he wants to prove himself to the bosses... (full context)
Chapter 19
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Jim and Jack are the first officers on the scene at the hostage situation, just because... (full context)
Chapter 21
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...of the wires are sticking out now. It really looks like Christmas lights, but to Jim, it looks like a bomb. Jim and Jack are on the street, trying to figure... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...“contain the situation” for now. This is enraging, especially since Stockholm is full of idiots. Jim tries to apologize to Jack, but Jack snaps for him to try to call the... (full context)
Chapter 23
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
That afternoon, Jim interviews Zara at the police station. She refuses coffee and says it’s “stupid” to ask... (full context)
Chapter 25
Assumptions  Theme Icon
In the continuation of Zara’s interview with Jim, Jim admits he feels silly for saying what he said about banks. He asks Zara... (full context)
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jim’s accusation offends Zara, so Jim moves on to asking how many people were in the... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jim asks once again why Zara was at the apartment, and she reveals that viewing middle-class... (full context)
Chapter 31
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jim is interviewing Estelle. He apologizes, but she says this has been great—nothing happens when you’re... (full context)
Chapter 33
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...her witness interview, Estelle says she’s sure Stockholm is pleasant, and Knut isn’t prejudiced, either. Jim asks about Ro and Julia. Estelle says they were arguing, and it was cute; Roger... (full context)
Chapter 36
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...just doing his job. The man is clearly a real Stockholmer, not an idiot like Jim and Jack mean when they use “Stockholmer,” or gay like Estelle means when she says... (full context)
Chapter 37
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
...dead space because whoever split the apartments is an idiot. Jack leaves to speak to Jim. (full context)
Chapter 39
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
At the police station, Jim is getting coffee when Jack races in and says the robber is hiding in the... (full context)
Chapter 42
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Later in the afternoon, Jack and Jim are digging through the closet without success. They find a collection of empty wine bottles,... (full context)
Chapter 43
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...drama, Roger goes onto the balcony and shouts at the police that they need supplies. Jim asks if they need medical supplies—and won’t stop talking long enough to listen to Roger... (full context)
Chapter 44
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack tries to shimmy into the vent, but he gets stuck, and Jim has to pull him back out. They both fall to the floor, with the rabbit... (full context)
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jim and Jack search the apartment again, “Staring at everything but still seeing nothing.” Studying the... (full context)
Chapter 46
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Earlier in the day, the local police force was given, as Jim called it, a “special telephone thingy which gets a bloody signal where there isn’t a... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack and Jim sink onto the couch and Jack calls himself an idiot. He asks Jim to tell... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Jack and Jim have been on their own since then. They still send Jack’s sister money when she... (full context)
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Back in the present, Jim asks Jack to explain. Jack notes that there were supposedly nine people in the apartment,... (full context)
Chapter 48
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack leaps out of the police car and races into the interview room, ignoring Jim’s attempts to get him to calm down. The real estate agent tries to give her... (full context)
Chapter 49
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
All this to say, when Jack and Jim are standing out on the street waiting for the negotiator from Stockholm, they’re thinking about... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...robber won’t open the door or take the phone—the robber hasn’t behaved rationally so far. Jim suggests they stick the phone in a pizza box, and the negotiator agrees that this... (full context)
Chapter 50
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...real estate agents can’t possibly be this bad at their job. The agent looks to Jim for help, but Jack bangs his fists on the table and says that nobody else... (full context)
Chapter 52
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...hostage drama, Jack wants to contact the bank robber in any way that doesn’t involve Jim going up with the pizzas. It’d be easier to know for sure the bomb isn’t... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
...a town so small that people from Jack’s town were the Stockholmers. He asks if Jim knows about the job offer. Just then, Jack notices that Jim isn’t still on the... (full context)
Chapter 55
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...he hasn’t been able to read, and he’s good at reading people. Laughing, Jack says Jim always says that you marry “the one you don’t understand. Then you spend the rest... (full context)
Chapter 56
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...bungee jump off a bridge. That fiancée, she explains, wasn’t Ro. As Julia says this, Jim is on his way up the stairs. (full context)
Chapter 57
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Before Jack entered the building across the street, he told Jim to wait. But Jim, of course, doesn’t follow Jack’s order. Instead, he takes the pizzas... (full context)
Chapter 59
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...Jack isn’t ready to accept this yet. That would mean he’s missed something obvious. Finally, Jim suggests they take a break, but Jack snarls that the robber fooled Jim when he... (full context)
Chapter 60
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Stepping back to when Jack gets downstairs after speaking with the negotiator, Jim is emerging from the other building. Jim insists the bomb was just Christmas lights, and... (full context)
Chapter 61
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
...enough. They both stare into the fire and get smoke in their eyes, and then Jim knocks on the door. (full context)
Chapter 62
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...Christmas. With this, Roger, Lennart, and the robber exchange looks. The apartment door opens, and Jim is outside. He goes back downstairs later and tells Jack he spoke with the robber. (full context)
Chapter 63
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Jack storms out of the interview room, leaving Jim with the real estate agent. Jim passes her a glass of water, and she says... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jim joins Jack in the hallway. Jack says the real estate agent must be the robber.... (full context)
Chapter 65
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Stepping back in time to earlier in the day, Jim comes downstairs and tells Jack about his conversation with the bank robber. But he doesn’t... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
When the bank robber opens the door, her hair is the same color as Jim’s daughter’s. They both notice that neither of them has removed their wedding rings. The robber... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jim asks how the robber ended up here. She says she doesn’t know where to start.... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...are with their dad now, but they were going to celebrate the New Year together. Jim asks what the robber needed the money for. She explains that she needed rent money,... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...it all out. But she’s ready to give up now, and the pistol’s not real. Jim, failing to see anyone but his daughter in the robber’s face, says that the robber... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Noticing the House Tricks Real Estate Agency sign on the apartment door, Jim says that he spoke to the couple in the apartment across the landing earlier. They’re... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
The robber asks why Jim is helping her. Jim says his wife always quoted someone who said something to the... (full context)
Chapter 66
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...bangs break the ensuing silence, and Lennart exclaims that there are fireworks going off outside. Jim is setting them off by the bridge and fortunately, he likes fireworks. Everyone stands on... (full context)
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
The bank robber tries to argue—but before she can leave, Jim knocks on the door. Roger grouses that with a policeman outside, the robber can’t sneak... (full context)
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...phone. She threw her ski mask in the fire and left the apartment. She showed Jim the key and said she didn’t tell anyone about him helping her. Jim wouldn’t let... (full context)
Chapter 67
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Now, in the present, Jim has told Jack the truth. Because Jack is a good son, he works on coming... (full context)
Chapter 68
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Marriage, Conflict, and Communication Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
...of a monkey, a frog, and an elk on the fridge, which Estelle stole from Jim. This family watches fireworks from the balcony every New Year’s Eve until, finally, Estelle dies.... (full context)
Chapter 72
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
...daughters keep bouncing and trying to climb her—they haven’t seen the police car yet with Jim and Jack inside. Silently, the robber begs them to not do this in front of... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Jim says he gets it if Jack wants to arrest the bank robber, but Jack says... (full context)
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Mental Health and Connection Theme Icon
The Modern World Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack asks if Jim wants coffee: he thought they could drive to see his sister. It’ll be her birthday... (full context)