Characters / The Secret History

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The Clique

    Richard Papen 
The novel's narrator and a scholarship student at Hampden college.

     Henry Winter 

     Bunny Corcoran 
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Corcorans. Oh God, the Corcorans.
    • Charles goes on a bit of a tirade about it, noting that Bunny was the best of them.
      "I just never met such a bunch of greedy, shallow people. You look at them and think, oh, what a tasteful, attractive family but they're just a bunch of zeros, like something from an ad."
  • Boisterous Bruiser
  • Book Dumb: He's a terrible scholar but a gifted artist and an astute observer.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Hinted at. Bunny goes out of his way to show off what a WASP he is by complaining about Catholics. However, his last name is Irish and his family are often confused in public with the Kennedys, hinting that his ancestors may often not meet the qualifications for the "P" in WASP.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Bunny's Big, Screwed-Up Family.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Bunny is a sexist, racist boor with gauche manners (whom Richard initially mistakes for a shining example of The Beautiful Elite). The classics clique have had their fill of him by halfway through the novel, and his threats to reveal their secret are the last straw.
  • He Knows Too Much
  • He-Man Woman Hater: And not afraid to show it.
  • Hyper Awareness: He's very clever when it comes to noticing things and putting them together.
  • Idiot Ball: Bunny picks it up when he realises the truth about the farmer's death and refuses to put it down.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: With Marion.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Anyone who has ever heard Bret Easton Ellis speak (and knows that Donna Tartt and Bret Easton Ellis know each other) can probably guess the inspiration for Bunny's way of (likely intentionally) being a conversational bull in a porcelain shop.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: While he may or may not be genuinely bigoted at heart, he does go out of his way to irritate his friends through loud, rude, politically incorrect comments (and, being every inch the New Englander, his offensive remarks are aimed at white Catholics and Jews rather than what Americans from other regions would consider more obvious targets, such as black Americans or hispanics).
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bunny Corcoran, boy detective.

     Francis Abernathy 

     Charles Macaulay 

     Camilla Macaulay 
The only female member of the Clique and Charles' twin sister.


     Julian Morrow 


     Cloke Rayburn 
  • Not Helping Your Case
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Becomes frantically worried that Bunny's disappearance has something to do with his own dealing activities, leading to this quote when he's interviewed for a paper:
    Cloke Rayburn, a school friend of Corcoran's and one of those who first notified police, said that Corcoran "is a real straight guy—definitely not mixed up in drugs or anything like that."
  • The Stoner

     Judy Poovey