The Sense of an Ending

by

Julian Barnes

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Jack Ford Character Analysis

Veronica’s brother and a Cambridge student like Adrian, Jack is casual and sardonic, treating Tony with rather unconcerned bemusement during the weekend Tony spends at the family’s home. Tony feels insecure around Jack, due in part to his Cambridge education and in part to his privileged background. During that weekend, and decades later when he attempts to get back in touch with Jack, Tony continues to feel slighted by him, as though Jack is treating him with barely disguised contempt. This feeling is depicted as possibly based in some truth, though also stemming from intense insecurity on Tony’s part. In fact, in many ways Jack and Tony are similar in their “unseriousness,” which is something that Adrian finds frustrating about both of them.

Jack Ford Quotes in The Sense of an Ending

The The Sense of an Ending quotes below are all either spoken by Jack Ford or refer to Jack Ford . 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:
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Sense of an Ending published in 2012.
One Quotes

“I hate the way the English have of not being serious about being serious. I really hate it.”

Related Characters: Adrian Finn (speaker), Anthony (Tony) Webster, Jack Ford
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Two Quotes

Why did I imagine Brother Jack had seen me coming and was having a bit of fun? Perhaps because in this country shadings of class resist time longer than differentials in age. The Fords had been posher than the Websters back then, and they were jolly well going to stay that way. Or was this mere paranoia on my part?

Related Characters: Anthony (Tony) Webster (speaker), Jack Ford
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.

Related Characters: Anthony (Tony) Webster (speaker), Jack Ford
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
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Jack Ford Character Timeline in The Sense of an Ending

The timeline below shows where the character Jack Ford appears in The Sense of an Ending. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
One
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
Veronica’s brother Jack was healthy, prone to laughter, and teasing with Veronica: to him Tony was the object... (full context)
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...roast lamb for Sunday lunch, and Tony remembered to say how delicious it was, though Jack winked at his father as if privately dismissing Tony’s attempt at manners. (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
Jack didn’t show up to say goodbye when Tony left. He remembers Mrs. Ford leaning against... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...of dons and colleges made Tony feel left out: only then did he learn that Jack attended Cambridge, studying moral sciences like Adrian. (full context)
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
Philosophy vs. Reality Theme Icon
After Veronica left, Tony asked his friends what they thought. Adrian said he’d heard of Jack and knew of the people he went around with. When Tony asked what he thought... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...just wanted to tell him that she had “traded up” to a Cambridge student like Jack. Tony stresses that this is how he interprets what happened, or rather how he now... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...Veronica and Veronica’s father, who was so casually disdainful of Tony, and between her and Jack—though a certain distance between Veronica and her mother Sarah, who obviously saw Veronica for what... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...been abused. He wonders if there was “inappropriate behavior” with Veronica’s father or her brother Jack, some “primal” moment of loss. He remembers Old Joe Hunt saying that mental states can... (full context)
Two
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
...reflects. So he makes a series of phone calls: to Mrs. Marriott to ask for Jack Ford’s contact details; to Margaret to arrange a lunch date; and to his own lawyer,... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
Mrs. Marriott takes two weeks to give Tony Jack Ford’s email; Veronica has declined to have her contact details passed along. Tony sends a... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
After a week, Jack sends Veronica’s email along with a cheery note about blue skies in Sydney. Tony is... (full context)
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
Tony thinks about how Jack’s contempt is still biting to him, forty years on. He wonders if his own cruel... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
...painful things about him, Adrian, and Veronica they might say. Mrs. Ford is dead, and Jack abroad: Veronica is the only one remaining. (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
History, Narrative, and Truth Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...with the Fords begin to resurface: the view from his attic room to a wood; Jack referring to Mrs. Ford as “the Mother”; Veronica’s sultry good-night kiss to him, after which... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
...nicer (“posher”) neighborhood. Tony has no idea what’s going on, so he cheerily asks how Jack is doing. She responds that Jack is Jack, and when he launches into another memory,... (full context)
Memory, Manipulation, and Self-Deception Theme Icon
Responsibility, Agency, and Guilt Theme Icon
Sex, Class, and Power Theme Icon
...put his affairs in order—which requires getting his hands on that diary. He writes to Jack, saying Veronica has been just as mystifying to him as she’s always been. He asks... (full context)