G.k Chesterton’s Look At The Transition Of Gabriel Syme As A Character In His Book, Man Who Was Thursday

Gabriel Syme’s Transformation

Gabriel Syme underwent a transformation as he read Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday. His entire being (his attitude, actions, and thoughts) changed between the start of his strange adventure to its end. Syme’s arrogance, his self-centeredness, and his attitude towards life change from the beginning of this strange sequence to the end. This is a decaying mask. Syme’s mask is gradually eroded and converted throughout the novel.

The story starts in a park where Gregory (Chap. 1). Syme and Gregory argue quickly about chaos and order. Syme is adamant about order and can be stubborn when it comes to the subject. Gregory isn’t annoyed by Syme’s opinions or examples on page 9-10, but his incessant interruptions. His remarks are a reflection of his character. He is egoistic, selfish, and in the scene he transforms into “Thursday”, you could say that he may be delusional. When he and Gregory are brought to the council, he steals their “spotlight”, becoming “Thursday”. He is blinded by his desire for thrill and adventure. This puts him in a strange position. As the chairman of anarchists. Something he strongly disagrees with and wants to stop. His transformation begins here.

Syme is not aware that he’s Thursday until he goes to the Hotel to meet other days. Slowly realizing his situation. As he grows uneasy, we see his arrogant façade begin to crumble. He is forced to be humbled by the President’s stare as he contemplates snitching from the balcony on the anarchists. The events that follow will not completely change Syme’s mind.

As they continue to discuss the next action, one can see Syme’s arrogance and his “all knowledge” as he slowly begins to crumble. He is then replaced by the patient and humbled Syme. To maintain his disguise, he must think and behave like anarchist. Syme feels apprehensive at this meeting, believing he’s almost been discovered. Syme’s relief was palsy after the suspicions were cleared. (Chapter 6./p.66). This is not Syme as we knew him.

In less than a day, he had accepted his role. He accepts that he knows nothing and is constantly in danger. The arrogant poet who walked around the park could be a mere facade. Syme becomes humbled at the anarchist table. Syme has to do two things: survive and stop anarchists creating chaos. But it’s the chaos itself that makes him more himself. Syme has a commitment to the President and a promise. The President is a powerful man who helps Syme come out from his shell.

The other days in the week end up in the same place as Syme by the end. Each day, as they gain more knowledge and experience, they become less certain and at peace. They discover order within the chaos. Syme is caught up in chaos. The man in the darkness, the President/Sunday/Sunday guides them through an incredible journey that provides answers to everything but also nothing.

ConclusionSyme’s adventure was his opportunity to learn how to deconstruct himself and find the chaos under the mask. But, as it turned out, what Syme saw in reality was just a fantasy. He was thinking about this dream all the time. It is a dream where he breaks down his perception of himself and becomes the person that he wants to be.


  • davidwong

    David Wong is a 29-year-old educator and blogger who focuses on helping students learn in creative and interesting ways. He has a background in teaching and has been blogging since 2006. David's work has been featured on a variety of websites, including Lifehack, Dumb Little Man, and The Huffington Post.