Call Me By Your Name

by

André Aciman

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Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman) Character Analysis

Mr. Pearlman is a professor who invites young scholars to work on their book manuscripts at his home in Italy, where he spends his summers with Elio and Mrs. Pearlman. Elio’s father is a kind and sensitive man who doesn’t impose traditional rules upon his son, instead encouraging him to lead an interesting life even if this means making mistakes or getting hurt. Somebody who loves making conversation over long meals, Mr. Pearlman frequently hosts intellectuals for seemingly interminable dinners, a practice Elio refers to as “dinner drudgery.” Although he picks up on Elio’s feelings for Oliver, he says nothing until after Oliver has left Italy, at which point he encourages his son to welcome the emotional pain of heartbreak because this is simply part of being alive and falling in love. When Elio gives Oliver a tour of the Italian house twenty years later, he points to the garden where he buried his father’s ashes and says he’s sure his father would have liked to see them reconnecting like this. He explains that he spread the rest of the remains in multiple places. “But this is where I come to be with him,” he says.

Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman) Quotes in Call Me By Your Name

The Call Me By Your Name quotes below are all either spoken by Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman) or refer to Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman). 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:
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of Call Me By Your Name published in 2007.
Part 2: Monet’s Berm Quotes

How I admired people who talked about their vices as though they were distant relatives they’d learned to put up with because they couldn’t quite disown them. That and other things. I don’t care to remember—like I know myself—hinted at a realm of human experience only others had access to, not I. How I wished I could say such a thing one day—that I didn’t care to remember what I’d done at night in full morning glory. I wondered what were the other things that necessitated taking a shower. Did you take a shower to perk yourself up because your system wouldn’t hold up otherwise? Or did you shower to forget, to wash away all traces of last night’s smut and degradation?

Related Characters: Elio (speaker), Oliver, Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman)
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4: Ghost Spots Quotes

“You’re too smart not to know how rare, how special, what you two had was.”

“Oliver was Oliver,” I said, as if that summed things up.

“Parce que c’était lui, parce que c’était moi,” my father added, quoting Montaigne’s all-encompassing explanation for his friendship with Etienne de la Boétie.

I was thinking, instead, of Emily Brontë’s words: because “he’s more myself than I am.”

Related Characters: Elio (speaker), Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman) (speaker), Oliver
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:

In my place, most parents would hope the whole thing goes away, or pray that their sons land on their feet soon enough. But I am not such a parent. In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!

Related Characters: Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman) (speaker), Elio, Oliver
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Call Me By Your Name LitChart as a printable PDF.
Call Me By Your Name PDF

Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman) Character Timeline in Call Me By Your Name

The timeline below shows where the character Elio’s Father (Mr. Pearlman) appears in Call Me By Your Name. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: If Not Later, When?
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...of a cab, giving him his backpack, and shaking his hand while asking if his father is home. At first, he thinks Oliver will be just another “bore,” yet another summer... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Maturity Theme Icon
...room that is connected by a small balcony. As long as the scholars help Elio’s father organize his correspondences and paperwork, they aren’t expected to do anything but live however they... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
...“Americanisms,” finds him charming and affectionately calls him “Il cauboi” and “La muvi star.” Elio’s father also takes a liking to Oliver, though he suggests that he’s shy—an idea Elio finds... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...with Oliver. However, this does nothing to change the way he himself feels. When his father asks what he thinks of Oliver, he makes sure to answer in a way that... (full context)
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...Oliver asks what Elio’s doing out past his bedtime, and Elio reminds him that his father “doesn’t believe in bedtimes.” Oliver then explains to Chiara that there are hardly any rules... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Time and Anticipation Theme Icon
“We almost did it,” Elio tells his father and Oliver the next morning at breakfast. His father asks why they didn’t, in that... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Pain, Heartbreak, and Regret Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Maturity Theme Icon
Time and Anticipation Theme Icon
...the living room couch, reading, or working on scores. “You can always talk to me,” Mr. Pearlman says. “I was your age once. The things you feel and think only you have... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Pain, Heartbreak, and Regret Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Time and Anticipation Theme Icon
One night Elio goes into his father’s library and reads an old fairytale about “a handsome young knight who is madly in... (full context)
Part 2: Monet’s Berm
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Maturity Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...his room only to discover that no one is there, Elio is silent at breakfast. Mr. Pearlman asks Oliver if he drank a lot the night before while playing poker (which is... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Maturity Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
...long dinner with a gay couple visiting from Chicago. Before they arrive, Elio tells his father that he’ll wear a purple shirt that was a gift from a distant cousin. “My... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
...Oliver’s soft-boiled eggs, taking Mafalda’s job and surprising everyone at the table. In particular, his father takes note of this intimacy and stares at him. “Americans never know how to do... (full context)
Pain, Heartbreak, and Regret Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Maturity Theme Icon
Time and Anticipation Theme Icon
...fly home from there. Elio immediately accepts this invitation. Wanting to give Oliver—and Elio—a “gift,” Mr. Pearlman books and pays for their hotel room. (full context)
Part 4: Ghost Spots
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Pain, Heartbreak, and Regret Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Maturity Theme Icon
Language and Communication Theme Icon
Downstairs, Elio sits with his father, who asks about his trip. Throughout the conversation, Mr. Pearlman’s questions hint at Elio’s relationship... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Pain, Heartbreak, and Regret Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Maturity Theme Icon
Time and Anticipation Theme Icon
...feel anything—what a waste!” Elio is shocked to hear this, but he doesn’t pretend his father is imagining things. “I may have come close,” Mr. Pearlman says, “but I never had... (full context)
Pain, Heartbreak, and Regret Theme Icon
Time and Anticipation Theme Icon
...the same gate to the beach, though things are also different because Vimini, Anchise, and Mr. Pearlman have all died. And although Elio wants to show Oliver that nothing has changed, he... (full context)
Identity and Attraction Theme Icon
Pain, Heartbreak, and Regret Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Maturity Theme Icon
Time and Anticipation Theme Icon
...ashes. “I call it his ghost spot,” he says. He explains that he spread his father’s ashes in many different places, but that this is where he comes when he wants... (full context)