Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Tracy Lord, a strikingly beautiful young woman of twenty-four, nicknamed “Red” by Dexter Haven because of her red hair. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College. Divorced from Dexter Haven, who criticized her as a virgin goddess, a married maiden, and the quintessential Type Philadelphiaensis, she could be the finest woman on earth, he claims, if she could overcome an intolerance against human frailty. She insists that she does not want to be worshiped but wants to be loved. Defending herself from Mike Connor’s prejudice, she argues that classes do not matter “except for the people in them” and that “there aren’t any rules about human beings.”
C. K. Dexter Haven
C. K. Dexter Haven, a twenty-eight-year-old formerly married, for ten months, to Tracy in an impulse marriage. He designs and races sailboats and plays polo. He drinks a bit too much and once slugged Tracy, who was a scold rather than a helpmate in their brief marriage. Urbane, witty, and with an honest if sarcastic outspokenness, he argues that occasional misdeeds are often as good for a person as the more persistent virtues. He is still in love with Tracy, thinks she is remarrying beneath her, and maneuvers to get her back. As an in-joke, he is named for the playwright’s friend, professor of English Dexter Haven of The Johns Hopkins University.
Macaulay (Mike) Connor
Macaulay (Mike) Connor, a thirty-year-old writer from South Bend sent by Destiny magazine to write up Tracy’s high-society wedding as part of a series on the Philadelphia story. A self-styled Jeffersonian Democrat, he dislikes the assignment, has a bias against the wealthy, and thinks the idle rich like Tracy have no right to exist. She in turn considers him an intellectual snob, but she is attracted to his sardonic iconoclasm. Tracy argues that the time to make up your mind about people is “never” and that he should follow the advice in one of his own stories, “With the Rich and Mighty...
(The entire section is 832 words.)
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