Oscar is a sweet and tender young man, forever torn between his desire to live according to his moral principles and the beliefs he has chosen for himself, and to avoid conflict with other people. He leaves his father’s house when he decides he must be wrong on a matter of doctrine, and refuses to go home. Though others press him to know the secret of his wealth (gambling), Oscar is reluctant to tell them for fear of condemnation and disapproval. He wants to maintain a good relationship with both his mentor and his father, and not disappoint either of them. When caught up in his guilt about gambling and shame about it ruining his reputation and losing his position, Oscar simply stops talking to people. He avoids Lucinda, and confesses to her only after she confronts him that he’s afraid that she will entice him into gambling once again. He falls into himself after killing a man in self-defense. Oscar accidentally prompted the confrontation by offering to gamble with his bonus, after the man has killed a bunch of natives on the trail. After he is raped while half-unconscious by a woman, Oscar blames himself for her ‘seduction’ and decides he must marry her, even though his heart lies with Lucinda. He’s easily offended when others call him “odd-bod” over his peculiar little habits, such as categorizing his possessions (all of his collections) by color and size (including his mother’s buttons). Oscar becomes quickly captivated by new ideas—and often trusts things outside himself to make decisions for him. He relies on luck and chance, the flip of a coin to decide his fate, even when he’s terrified. As a child, he believes God speaks to him through a game of chance. He tells Lucinda that he doesn’t think God will “look down on a poor chap making a wager” on a game of cards, after “asking us to gamble our immortal souls on his existence.” Then he quickly reverses his position, and says it might be blasphemy to say such a thing. Oscar assumes that Lucinda is in love with Reverend Hasset rather than asking her outright, and gambles on his ability to earn her love through delivering her glass church into the wilds. It’s his rather unrealistic proposal that they send him a glass church in the first place, and go overload rather than by river.

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Oscar has a dual nature of being both tender, forgiving, and conflict-avoidant, and trying desperately to live up to a higher moral ideal. He is somewhat permissive and creates scenarios in which he can gamble without feeling guilt, until some incident triggers his fear of hell and of doing wrong—then he becomes repentant for a short time, only to lapse back into his gambling addiction. Oscar does not like to think he has harmed Lucinda’s reputation, but also doesn’t apologize to her for collapsing in her room and forcing her to call a steward. He gets caught up in his head and forgets all about the outside world, preoccupying himself in pleasant small activities (such as micro-organizing things and yes, gambling). He also wants to be principled and do the right thing, whether that involves taking responsibility that isn’t his for a seduction that happened against his conscious will (he sort of just… let it happen, and then reframes it in a 9ish way into his fault) or making amends for his mistakes.