Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Katherine Sheppard, an unmarried teacher in New Zealand who still lives with her mother. The story is told as a series of diary entries written by this intelligent, idealistic, and somewhat neurotic woman in her thirties who evidently does not realize how strongly she yearns to get out from under her mother’s roof and find a permanent love relationship. She has been disappointed by men but keeps hoping to find “Mr. Right,” as she describes this imaginary mate in her diary. When she meets Dr. Hubert Nock at a party, she begins to hope that he may turn out to be Mr. Right. Hubert takes an immediate interest in her and quickly leads the eager, impressionable woman to believe that he has serious intentions. Her diary chronicles five months in the life of a fading spinster schoolteacher that are brightened only by occasional meetings with Hubert and daydreams about their future. She is bitterly disappointed when she discovers that Hubert has only been toying with her affections and is in fact already married.
Dr. Hubert Nock
Dr. Hubert Nock, an American psychologist visiting New Zealand in connection with his work. This tall, handsome, middle-aged New Englander appears to be a paragon of male virtues who has stepped out of an illustration in an American magazine advertisement. His behavior toward Katherine, however, proves that he is much more complicated than he appears. Being a professional psychologist, he easily understands her loneliness and longing for affection, and he begins to manipulate her...
(The entire section is 642 words.)
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