Stanley Webber, a boarder at a seedy seaside home. In his late thirties and unkempt, he indulges in fantasies about exotic cities in which he had performed as a concert pianist. In Kafkaesque fashion, he speaks of a career that was ended by persons he refers to as “them.” Filling his landlady’s need for a lodger and a surrogate son, he is comfortably ensconced as a member of the household until his position is threatened by the arrival of two strange, surrealistic guests, Goldberg and McCann. He suggests that the two have come to cart away Meg, his landlady, in a wheelbarrow. In the climactic scene, at his birthday party, Stanley beats the drum Meg has given him as a present, the tempo savagely increasing as he marches around the room. During a game of blindman’s buff, the lights go out. When the lights come back on, he is standing, with his glasses broken, over Lulu, who lies spread-eagled on a table. the next morning he appears in striped trousers, black jacket, white collar, and bowler hat, and is carted away by Goldberg and McCann to a mysterious healer, “Monty,” for treatment.
Meg Boles, the wife of Petey, with whom she operates a rundown boarding house. A mothering person in her mid-sixties who dislikes going out, she devotes her time to Petey’s meals and comfort. She dotes on Stanley, their boarder, as a surrogate son. the surrogacy, however, takes on an Oedipal cast....
(The entire section is 553 words.)