The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer

by

Viet Thanh Nguyen

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Professor Avery Wright Hammer Character Analysis

The narrator’s former professor and Claude’s college roommate. At Claude’s urging on the narrator’s behalf, Professor Hammer secured a scholarship for the narrator at Occidental College and became his “most important teacher after Claude and Man.” Professor Hammer guided the narrator in American Studies and supervised his senior thesis on Graham Greene, despite the subject being outside of his field. Professor Hammer agrees to be the narrator’s sponsor, helping him get out of the refugee camp in San Diego. He gets the narrator a clerical job in the Department of Oriental Studies at Occidental. He also takes up a collection, on the narrator’s behalf, among the narrator’s former teachers. Professor Hammer is a gay man who has a boyfriend named Stan. Claude first mentions the professor’s homosexuality to the narrator in 1963 because he doesn’t want him to be surprised. He lives in a Craftsman bungalow in Pasadena and owns an extensive jazz collection. When he was young, he was a Communist.
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Professor Avery Wright Hammer Character Timeline in The Sympathizer

The timeline below shows where the character Professor Avery Wright Hammer appears in The Sympathizer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Shortly after arriving in San Diego, the narrator contacts his former professor, Avery Wright Hammer , seeking his help in leaving the camp. Professor Wright agrees to be the narrator’s... (full context)
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
...reunited in an apartment that they are sharing. With the last of the money from Professor Hammer , the narrator buys a radio and a television. (full context)
Chapter 6
Cultural Duality Theme Icon
Asian Identity in the United States Theme Icon
The next Saturday night, the narrator goes to dinner at the home of Professor Hammer and his boyfriend, Stan. Over dinner, they talk about bebop, the nineteenth-century novel, the Dodgers,... (full context)
Loyalty vs. Duplicity Theme Icon
Moral Ambivalence and Purpose Theme Icon
The narrator and Claude leave Professor Hammer ’s house near midnight and smoke farewell cigarettes on the sidewalk. The narrator discusses his... (full context)