The Great Divorce

The Intelligent Man / Ikey Character Analysis

A shrewd, businesslike soul who has a nonsensical plan to sell the golden apples of the Valley of the Shadow of Life to the people of the Grey Town. Ikey exemplifies the shallowness and vulgar materialism of humanity, but he also has an important narrative function in the novel: he’s the character who explains the Grey Town to the Narrator (and therefore, to readers).

The Intelligent Man / Ikey Quotes in The Great Divorce

The The Great Divorce quotes below are all either spoken by The Intelligent Man / Ikey or refer to The Intelligent Man / Ikey. 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:
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperOne edition of The Great Divorce published in 0.
Chapter 2 Quotes

That's one of the disappointments. I thought you'd meet interesting historical characters. But you don't: they're too far away.

Related Characters: The Intelligent Man / Ikey (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Grey Town
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

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I'd start a little business. I'd have something to sell. You'd soon get people coming to live near—centralization. Two fully-inhabited streets would accommodate the people that are now spread over a million square miles of empty streets. I'd make a nice little profit and be a public benefactor as well.

Related Characters: The Intelligent Man / Ikey (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Grey Town
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

I could hardly help admiring this unhappy creature when I saw him rise staggering to his feet actually holding the smallest of the apples in his hands. He was lame from his hurts, and the weight bent him double. Yet even so, inch by inch, still availing himself of every scrap of cover, he set out on his via dolorosa to the bus, carrying his torture.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Intelligent Man / Ikey
Related Symbols: The Apple Tree
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Fool,” he said, “put it down. You cannot take it back. There is not room for it in Hell. Stay here and learn to eat such apples. The very leaves and the blades of grass in the wood will delight to teach you.”
Whether the Ghost heard or not, I don't know. At any rate, after pausing for a few minutes, it braced itself anew for its agonies and continued with even greater caution till I lost sight of it.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Water-Giant (speaker), The Intelligent Man / Ikey
Related Symbols: The Apple Tree
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

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The Intelligent Man / Ikey Character Timeline in The Great Divorce

The timeline below shows where the character The Intelligent Man / Ikey appears in The Great Divorce. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
Free Will and Salvation Theme Icon
The Narrator asks his new neighbor, the “ Intelligent Man ,” about the grey town, and the neighbor explains that the grey town has existed... (full context)
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
Free Will and Salvation Theme Icon
Love, Sacrifice, and Sin Theme Icon
The Intelligent Man confides in the Narrator: he’s trying to find a way to convince the people in... (full context)
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
...whisper, the Big Man yells for them to be quiet, addressing the Intelligent Man as “Ikey.” (full context)
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
...in the seat ahead of the Narrator turns around and informs that Narrator that the Intelligent Man is wrong: it will never be completely dark—instead, it’s going to get progressively lighter. Furthermore,... (full context)
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
Free Will and Salvation Theme Icon
...Narrator opens the bus window to get a better view of the light, but the Intelligent Man shouts for him to close it at once—it’s too cold outside. The Narrator looks around,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
Free Will and Salvation Theme Icon
Love, Sacrifice, and Sin Theme Icon
...tree. Moving closer, the Narrator realizes that the ghost is the “intelligent man” from the bus—Ikey. Ikey has been trying to approach the tree for hours, and now he’s almost there—but... (full context)
Dreams, Fantasy, and Education Theme Icon
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
Free Will and Salvation Theme Icon
Love, Sacrifice, and Sin Theme Icon
...really a bright angel, who floats “like one crucified” in the air. The “Water-Giant” tells Ikey that there is no room for apples in Hell. Instead, Ikey should learn to stay... (full context)
Chapter 7
Heaven, Hell, and the “Great Divorce” Theme Icon
Christianity and Common Sense Theme Icon
Love, Sacrifice, and Sin Theme Icon
As Ikey limps away with his apples, the Narrator looks closely at the huge angel. The angel,... (full context)