Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Philip Carey

Philip Carey, a clubfooted orphan boy reared by relatives under strict and pietistic conditions. The result of this rearing, and of his physical disability as well, is a retiring and idealistic boy who has ahead of him a long battle to overcome the inhibitions with which his aunt and uncle have saddled him and the lack of physical confidence that comes from his misshapen foot. To find his place in life, he tries many professions: clerk, medical student, art student—the list is quite long. He also listens eagerly to somewhat older friends who, supposedly, can tell him what life means. Through them, he learns that art and literature, morals and religion, are relative to the observer and that even the great truths of philosophers suffer similar limitations. Philip’s emotional education is the work of several women, chief among them Mildred Rogers and Sally Athelney. Life with Sally and medical practice in a small English town finally make up Philip’s “figure in the carpet,” which, according to a friend, each person must discover alone.

William Carey

William Carey, Philip’s uncle, an Anglican clergyman. Poorly equipped to rear a child, he is represented as fairly ignorant, thoroughly selfish, and completely hypocritical.

Louisa Carey

Louisa Carey, William’s wife and Philip’s aunt, a timid woman who fears to reveal to Philip how much she cares for him. An inheritance from her gives Philip needed funds at one point in his life.

Miss Wilkinson

Miss Wilkinson, a friend of the Careys, a governess on holiday from her winter...

(The entire section is 676 words.)

Of Human Bondage Characters

The length of the novel, Of Human Bondage, nearly six hundred pages in the standard edition, enables Maugham to create an almost...

(The entire section is 178 words.)