Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Nicholas Warner


The gambler is a mysterious persona in life and in literature. Who is the gambler? While we can envision the gambler as many different kinds of people, this thesis seeks to answer this question by focusing on certain literary figures who gamble. Its author analyzes two archetypes in particular, that of the professional gambler and that of the addict. To illustrate these types, the author looks to four protagonists from a mix of four novels and short stories: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, “A Gentleman’s Game” by Jonathan Lethem, “Queen of Spades” by Alexander Pushkin, and The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky. These characters are James Bond, Alexander Bruno, Hermann, and Alexei Ivanovich, from each text respectively.

This thesis examines how each gambler’s relationship with luck influences the way they gamble. It also considers the characters’ background, life aspirations, and levels of self-control.The similarities and differences between these characters speak volumes about the nature of the gambler persona. In her analysis, the author finds that each character’s gambling habits inform us about their lives more broadly and speaks to their character. Additionally, the author explores how obsession complicates interpersonal relationships by interfering with the gambler’s ability to genuinely connect with others. Life itself is a game of chance. Learning about the gambler, we can better understand ourselves and each other as we navigate risk.