Nowhere does the human seem more the cornerstone of literature than in the novel. If the novel is an escape, it is an escape into: meaning, sense, the human. Madame Bovary. Isabel Archer. Gatsby. Ahab. Hester Prynne. It is the great characters of the novel that we remember, and the emotions that spring from the human encounter with all that is outside of it. Greed, obsession, sin, regret and pride assign a value to the humanity of fictional characters. Their triumphs are the human triumphs of understanding, reconciliation, creation; their defeats are equally human: despair, loneliness, loss.