Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Father, a barrister in London, an antisocial man who takes refuge in his beloved garden every time a visitor threatens to disturb him. He seems sincerely to pity his son for having to go visit someone. Father collects the earwigs caught in his garden traps every evening and drowns them. His garden is his true passion, and the law is merely a way to earn a living—though he is very good at what he does. He is blinded from an accident while pruning an apple tree, but he refuses to acknowledge that he is blind. His visual blindness epitomizes his emotional blindness: He refuses to allow any emotional closeness between himself and his son or himself and his wife. He is a confusing yet fascinating character. It is not certain whether he has had several mistresses and smoked opium. He gets along with his grandchildren better than with his son.
Mother, a housewife. She caters to Father after he is blinded, taking care of him completely, even cutting up his food, but she never acknowledges his blindness overtly. She panders to her husband’s every whim, including making marmalade, even though she hates doing it. She does not seem to be very sentimental or emotional; when her young son starts to cry, she apparently cannot believe or accept it. She is living in a rut, but one in which she means to stay. When she speaks about what she will do when her husband dies, she says she will stay in her home, because...
(The entire section is 569 words.)
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