Polly Solo-Miller Demarest
Polly Solo-Miller Demarest, the main character, the only daughter of Henry Solo-Miller and his wife, Constanzia Hendricks, who is always called Wendy. Polly (whose real name is Dora) is the wife of Henry Demarest and mother of Pete (age nine) and Dee-Dee (age seven and a half). Polly, in her early thirties, is employed part-time as coordinator of research in reading projects and methods. She is a competent, devoted wife and mother as well as an amiable and accommodating daughter to her parents. She mediates between her two brothers. Polly has one other role: mistress of the successful but reclusive painter Lincoln Bennett. This affair began several months before the book opens. Polly’s anguish over the conflicts in her feelings about Henry Demarest and Lincoln Bennett forms the crux of the novel.
Lincoln Bennett, Polly’s lover, whom she met at a gallery showing of his paintings. He lives alone in his studio. He is a naturally loving man, but he has given up expecting to find happiness in love because he cannot endure living with anyone. He has known the Solo-Millers for some time and considers them smug, snobbish, and unappreciative of Polly, the only one of the family who is completely selfless, kind, and tender-hearted. He is the only person who recognizes and values these qualities in her.
Henry Demarest, Polly’s husband, so absorbed in his work that he appears unaware of the devotion and skill with which Polly manages his household and the love she lavishes on him without expectation of gratitude or return of passion. He loves Polly, as Lincoln does, but Henry never...
(The entire section is 699 words.)