The Golden Age

by

Joan London

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Meyer Gold Character Analysis

Frank’s father and Ida’s husband, Meyer is a former businessman from Hungary who now works in a factory and as a soft-drinks deliveryman. Meyer is much more relaxed and personable than his wife; even Frank would rather his soft-spoken father visit than his frenetic mother. However, Meyer himself sees his purpose in life as standing between the world and Ida, whom he respects as a musical genius. This is an unusual perspective for a man in the patriarchal 1950s, and establishes him as a touching contrast to Jack Briggs, the notably self-centered husband of Margaret. While both of the Golds are hardworking, Meyer adjusts more easily than his wife to his new life as a working-class laborer; he feels at home in work clothes, quickly gets a tan, and wears his hat like a cowboy. Having lost most of his siblings in the Holocaust, Meyer is frequently troubled by flashbacks to their deaths, as well as by an inability to feel at home after being so violently expelled from the society he once thought of as his own. It’s his connection and (unconsummated) attraction to Sister Penny, and the contented solitude she embodies, that teachers Meyer it’s possible to be alone without feeling isolated.

Meyer Gold Quotes in The Golden Age

The The Golden Age quotes below are all either spoken by Meyer Gold or refer to Meyer Gold. 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:
Survival Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Europa edition of The Golden Age published in 2014.
6. The Poet Quotes

Why do I refuse it? he thought, wheeling off. His parents, he knew, regarded his lost legs as one more tragedy they had to bear. I refuse to be their only light. I want to be my own reason for living.

Related Characters: Frank Gold (speaker), Ida Gold, Meyer Gold, Sullivan Backhouse
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
7. The Trains Quotes

Sometimes his parents forgot themselves over drinks with Hungarian friends and spoke of the country they once knew […] then they fell silent. They’d been guests, after all, in that country. As they were guests in this one.

Related Characters: Frank Gold (speaker), Ida Gold, Meyer Gold
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
8. The First Time Frank Saw Elsa Quotes

Over and over again, Frank thought, he, Meyer and Ida had been forced to live within breathing distance of strangers, like animals in a burrow. Knowing about their underclothes, the smells and habits of their bodies. The little meannesses, the same old jokes, the sulks and temper flurries […]

Related Characters: Frank Gold (speaker), Ida Gold, Meyer Gold
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
13. Meyer Walks Home Quotes

He had a suspicion that never again would he feel at home as he once had. Never again on this earth. And another suspicion: that to love a place, to imagine yourself belonging to it, was a lie, a fiction. It was a vanity. Especially for a Jew.

Related Characters: Meyer Gold (speaker)
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

She was vibrant with life and yet she was solitary. Unburdened by domesticity. She was brave, even audacious. Kept her disappointments in their place. How had a woman like that come to live alone?

Related Characters: Meyer Gold (speaker), Sister Penny
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:
28. The Hunch Quotes

He had an image suddenly of sitting with her at a table in one of the little cafes overlooking Lake Balaton […] around it, brothers, their girlfriends, guests from Budapest. The peace of couples who have been swimming and then taken a siesta together in the afternoon […] such a capacity she had for living. A purity about her, as engrossed in life as an insect going about its tasks, embedded in all that is natural.

Related Characters: Meyer Gold (speaker), Sister Penny
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
31. The Visit Quotes

The vision seemed to come to him out of the sky, unfolding like a cloud or flock of tiny birds, the outline spreading and contracting. A smallholding, a tiny farm. With ploughing, fertilizing, watering, he could pasture a goat on a block like this, grow fruit trees and vegetables, feed his family from the land. It was what his father had done.

Related Characters: Meyer Gold (speaker)
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Golden Age LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Golden Age PDF

Meyer Gold Character Timeline in The Golden Age

The timeline below shows where the character Meyer Gold appears in The Golden Age. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
4. Cockatoos
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...cockatoos fly over the hospital; the children know they’re signaling rain. Frank’s parents, Ida and Meyer Gold, also hear the birds from their house in North Perth. Meyer is watering his... (full context)
Vocation Theme Icon
Meyer encourages Ida to play the piano; they in fact chose their current house because the... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Since she won’t play, Meyer says she should go to bed, but Ida knows that when she’s tired her nightmares... (full context)
5. Frank’s Vocation
Survival Theme Icon
Vocation Theme Icon
...has always suspected he had a vocation, although he inherited neither Ida’s musical ability nor Meyer’s handiness. Now he knows he’s a poet, and this conviction makes him feel like an... (full context)
6. The Poet
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Vocation Theme Icon
...feverish Frank was, she ran down the street to the phone box yelling and cursing. Meyer had to carry him out of the house while the neighbors watched. In the midst... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Vocation Theme Icon
...knows it’s up to him to finish “On My Last Day on Earth.” He calls Meyer and tries to tell him this but can’t communicate his thoughts well. After hanging up,... (full context)
7. The Trains
Survival Theme Icon
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...is wearing old shoes and a hat. All winter she’s gone bareheaded in solidarity with Meyer, who’s in a freezing Ukrainian labor camp without a hat. Now, she has fake papers... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Strength, Physicality, and Femininity Theme Icon
...believe she’s been reduced to making such grim choices for her son and worries that Meyer would have wanted her to keep Frank by her side. (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Vocation Theme Icon
...important contest as a young woman, and on a celebratory trip with her family met Meyer. In the following years, new laws prevented Ida from studying or performing, but she was... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Ida hoped to have a child who looked like Meyer, but Frank turned out to be disappointingly like her, both in looks and personality. Now,... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
In Australia in the present, Ida and Meyer and their Hungarian friends sometimes reminisce about the country they once loved and all its... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
When Frank wakes up in the hospital on the day of Sullivan’s death, Meyer is there. He says that the hospital has arranged for Frank to move to the... (full context)
8. The First Time Frank Saw Elsa
Survival Theme Icon
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
On Frank’s first Sunday at the Golden Age, Ida and Meyer come to visit. They befriend the parents of Fabio, one of the babies, who are... (full context)
13. Meyer Walks Home
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer leaves the factory after his shift and feels invigorated by the unusually mild weather, which... (full context)
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Even though he thinks of Perth as an “innocent” city, Meyer can imagine the streets bombed and bodies littering the steps of public buildings. Caught up... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer shakes his head to dispel the memory. When he remembers his dead family now, it... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Meyer walks past the prestigious Perth Modern School. Even though Frank spoke no English when they... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Arriving at the Golden Age, Meyer finds Frank reading One Thousand and One nights. Frank is delighted to see his father,... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Meyer has endured many things, but Frank’s polio has been the hardest for him, since it... (full context)
Vocation Theme Icon
Strength, Physicality, and Femininity Theme Icon
As Meyer is leaving he runs into Sister Penny, who’s dressed up for a play at her... (full context)
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
As he walks home, Meyer feels different, more kindly disposed to the city and landscape he normally considers harsh and... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
As the train pulls into the station, Meyer remembers walking on the beach with Ida and Frank shortly after their arrival in Australia.... (full context)
15. Christmas
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Most of the children go home for Christmas, but Meyer and Ida volunteer to serve lunch to those staying at the Golden Age so the... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Vocation Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...it hard to understand why the Golds don’t celebrate Christmas, the lunch goes off well. Meyer entertains everyone by exaggerating his own accent and Ida plays Christmas carols on the piano.... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Returning to the Golden Age, Sister Penny is inexplicably pleased to see Meyer. She feels that he’s much like here and that “nothing escapes him.” Ida plays Mozart... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
When Meyer and Ida return home, Ida asks what he thinks of Sister Penny. Meyer equivocates, not... (full context)
18. A Long Cool Drink
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...While the children are at the sea, she comes into the unlocked entry to see Meyer standing there with a crate of soft drinks which he had brought over as a... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer tells Sister Penny that he’s beginning to understand Perth, meanwhile admiring her “incongruous” beauty–he’s surprised... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Strength, Physicality, and Femininity Theme Icon
Looking at Meyer, Sister Penny is struck by the sense that he’s lost a lot. She’s reminded of... (full context)
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer asks Sister Penny if she has a home of her own, and she tells him... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer drives away from the Golden Age still thinking about Sister Penny. He doesn’t feel like... (full context)
20. The Queen
Survival Theme Icon
...wetting the bed, and Frank and Elsa walk everywhere instead of using their wheelchairs. Meanwhile, Meyer is skeptical of the obsession with the royals, especially coming from citizens of a peripheral... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...the Golden Age, as well as having a new dress made by an immigrant friend. Meyer is happy to hear her playing again, and reports to Frank that she’s very nervous,... (full context)
21. Ida and Meyer
Survival Theme Icon
Vocation Theme Icon
Meyer comes home on the afternoon of the concert to hear Ida practicing. He’s sweating in... (full context)
Vocation Theme Icon
Meyer enters the living room to see a sweaty Ida playing in only her slip, her... (full context)
22. The Concert
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...and nurses help the children to their seats. Families of patients and staff have come. Meyer is setting out soft drinks donated by Bickford’s. Ida is comforted and unsettled to know... (full context)
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Sister Penny watches Meyer, noting how it always seems like he’s watching events from a distance. She’s invited Elizabeth... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer watches Sister Penny usher the audience towards the drinks. In the midst of the crowd,... (full context)
25. Blue Air
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...While she sleeps, she wonders about the cause of her malaise. She remembers looking at Meyer’s face during the concert; observing his complete detachment, she felt the connection between them was... (full context)
27. Poetry
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Meyer and Ida aren’t angry with Frank; they’re amused by his expulsion, which they see as... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
At night, Ida and Meyer worry over Frank. Ida says she hears him talking to himself in the bathroom. She... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
...on the radio. He weeps in bed, and then goes onto the porch to see Meyer. Meyer jokes that their house now is better than the conditions in his Ukrainian labor... (full context)
28. The Hunch
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
On a hunch, Meyer drives out to the beach after making a delivery nearby. He feels like he’s driving... (full context)
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Strength, Physicality, and Femininity Theme Icon
Meyer and Sister Penny smile at each other without saying anything. To Meyer, she looks like... (full context)
Parenthood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Vocation Theme Icon
Sister Penny informs Meyer that she’s moving to Darwin to accept a new position. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Ann is engaged... (full context)
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer says that he’s worried about Frank, who is too quiet and seems to have lost... (full context)
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer knows that they will soon part and probably never see each other again. He wants... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
Meyer and Sister Penny get into their respective cars and drive away. Sister Penny feels light... (full context)
31. The Visit
Survival Theme Icon
Meyer realizes that Margaret reminds him of his buxom younger sister, Roszi. During the war she... (full context)
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...help her. The backyard, full of greenery, is beautiful before the storm. Marveling at it, Meyer imagines owning a tiny farm and cultivating vegetables just as his father had once done... (full context)
Survival Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Solitude Theme Icon
...into an old hiding place by the fence where hanging branches make a tiny room. Meyer notices them leaving but says nothing; Jack also notices and thinks to himself that “you... (full context)