Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Doc Delaney, a chiropractor in a Midwestern city. This outwardly gentle, courteous, and patient man in his early forties seethes inside because of his frustrating life. He felt compelled to drop out of medical school about twenty years earlier and marry Lola because he had made her pregnant. Married to a woman who is his social and intellectual inferior, and disappointed in his ambitions and by the fact that Lola was rendered sterile by the botched delivery of their stillborn first child, Doc became an alcoholic who was nearly homicidal when intoxicated. He squandered all the money he had inherited and allowed his practice to go to ruin. For the past eleven months, he has belonged to Alcoholics Anonymous and is trying to rebuild his shattered life.
Lola Delaney, a housewife. Married to Doc at the age of eighteen, Lola has remained mentally an adolescent for the past twenty years. In contrast to her shy, introverted husband, she has no internal resources and is completely dependent on other people. She has let herself become fat, and she neglects her housekeeping, along with her personal appearance. At the age of eighteen, she had been strikingly attractive and much sought after by young men. Because this was the only area in which she ever experienced success and satisfaction, she has never gotten over her youthful illusions about romantic love. Her small lost dog, Little Sheba, symbolizes for...
(The entire section is 628 words.)
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With Elmo, Ed is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Lola calls him frantic with worry when she discovers the bottle of alcohol is missing. She again calls him when Doc returns home drunk. It is Ed and Elmo who take Doc to the hospital.
Bruce is Marie's hometown, clean-cut fiancé. He provides the catalyst that finally moves Lola to clean house and prepare dinner when she eagerly anticipates his arrival When he finally arrives, Bruce asks Marie to marry and move away with him.
Mrs. Coffman is the Delaney's German neighbor. In the first act, she has little time for gossip with Lola and tells her that she needs to keep busy. They are not friends, as is evidenced when Lola wonders if Mrs. Coffman might have killed Sheba. But when Mrs. Coffman hears Doc attack Lola in Act II, she goes next door to check on her neighbor and offer comfort. By the final scene a friendship is forming between the two women, and Mrs. Coffman again returns to ask Lola to accompany her family to the relay games.
Doc is a chiropractor. He had planned to go to medical school, but when Lola became pregnant, he married her and settled for chiropractic school instead. Doc is an alcoholic who has been sober for one year; he relies on Alcoholics Anonymous for support. He is disillusioned and disappointed at the loss of his only child, who died at birth, the loss of his...
(The entire section is 1057 words.)