Walter Sobchak: The Big Lebowski

Walter's Bio

Source:  IMDB

Walter Sobchak is a traumatized Vietnam Veteran with a tendency to equate all hardship and suffering with that of his buddies in Vietnam, who, as he puts it "died face down in the muck." Seeing his friend die in the chaos of the Vietnam War has taught Walter an important lesson about the necessity of rules, which he will defend in the most inappropriate of situations and manners. It has also given him a 'never-surrender' attitude that he applies to any situation where he feels that 'lines are crossed'. He claims to have 'dabbed in pacifism for a while', but also feels that 'pacifism is not something to hide behind' when action is warranted. Probably due to his military experience, he is very skilled with weapons.

Walter's love of rules and structure also extends into his social interactions. He is good friends with Jeffrey 'The Dude' Lebowski and Theodore Donald 'Donny' Karabotsos, but resents the latter's tendency to mingle into conversations while completely unaware what it is about. Since Donny is a very slow absorber who always trails in conversations, this often prompts Walter to tell Donny that he is "out of his element", or that he should "shut the f### up". Despite his generally demeaning behavior towards Donny, he is actually quite protective of him, and delivers a sincere eulogy at Donny's burial.

Walter loves bowling almost more than anything, and despises anything that may interfere with the bowling tournament, such as pessimism and other activities. The only thing that will make him postpone his bowling is his religion.

Walter has his own business, Sobchak Security. He is of Polish descent and a former member of the Roman Catholic church. He married a woman named Cynthia, became a member of the Jewish faith and is Shomer Shabbas (i.e., a Sabbath observer). For this reason, he cannot work, cook, bowl or assist The Dude on Saturday, the Jewish day of rest. However, Walter does finally relent and assists The Dude in solving the last piece of The Big Lebowski's case.

Walter divorced Cynthia about five years earlier, and does not seem to cope particularly well with the separation; he is still taking care of her dog as she goes on a holiday with her new husband, and he still sticks manically to all his adopted Jewish traditions. Walter's general attitude towards women suggests that his marriage and the way it ended has left him a bit of a misogynist: he refuses to believe that Bunny Lebowski could be an innocent kidnap victim, even in the face of strong evidence supporting the case.

Walter has an unwaivering faith in his own judgment and he'll be unlikely to admit that he is or could be wrong. He employs an interrogation technique of confronting a suspect with direct evidence, but even though it does not sort the slightest bit of effect, Walter still thinks it does.

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