Lucy Starr, a forty-two-year-old educational consultant, teacher, and social activist. Lucy is the reader’s point-of-view character for most of the novel, excepting those elements told through Theodore’s interior monologue. Lucy is a member of the cultured, highly educated, white upper middle class whose social and political liberalism dominated the major cities of the Northeast for many years. Lucy has been successful in her career, but her personal life remains oddly unresolved. A committed, self-conscious liberal flourishing amid the upheavals of the 1960’s, Lucy finds all of her certainties jeopardized by the sudden entrance into her life of two disparate individuals, Berndt Hoffman and Theodore. Lucy is altruistic and well-intentioned; she is inspired by ethical ideals stemming from deep moral convictions that perhaps developed in connection with her Jewish ethnic background. Lucy has trouble understanding what she really wants in life. The tensions between her public and private goals are illustrated by the way she employs her personal relationships as comments on the racial and cultural divisions within the United States of her era. Lucy is a good person and does not mean to hurt anyone or hurt herself, and her motives in abducting Theodore come from nothing but the highest ideals. Because of her essential confusion, she often ends up in situations beyond her control.
Theodore, a ten-and-a-half-year-old African American boy who is kidnapped by Lucy Starr. He grew up in...
(The entire section is 634 words.)