The main character and narrator of the novel, Wyatt, tells of the events of his life with calm lucidity. He has suffered great tragedies throughout his life, but he displays resilience and fortitude. He is a steadying influence on those around him, providing an anchor and support for his family. Despite a tragic life, Wyatt endures and manages to maintain his perspective and soundness of mind and character. He serves as a relatively neutral character who is greatly affected by the choices other people make.
Katherine and Joseph Hillyer
Katherine and Joseph are Wyatt’s parents, and even though they are not active participants in the novel itself, their double suicide at the beginning of the novel hangs over Wyatt his entire life. Katherine was an accountant and Joseph was the owner of a stationary store. Both Katherine and Joseph fell in love with their next-door neighbor, the young and beautiful Reese Mac Isaac. Once they discover their mutual love, they both commit suicide, jumping off of separate bridges on the same day.
Tilda is Wyatt’s adopted cousin. Tilda is an opinionated, emotional, and yet pragmatic character. Wyatt is fiercely in love with her for most of his life. Tilda uses her passionate nature to fuel the emotion behind her chosen career as a professional mourner. Her father murders her husband, Hans, and she mourns Hans’s death the rest of her life. She has a daughter with Wyatt, whom she takes to live with Hans’s parents in Denmark. Her life is touched deeply by almost unspeakable tragedy, and she is vehement in her expression of her grief. Despite this, she displays great fortitude and strength as she forges onward and makes a life for herself and her daughter.
Wyatt’s uncle, Donald, is a kind-hearted man when he is introduced, but he undergoes a disturbing transformation from a kind, caring man to one who is paranoid, bitter, angry, and socially reclusive. This transformation is caused by his unhealthy fixation with the war; his character is a good example of the powerful and devastating impact that war can have on people, their psyches, and their lives. His hatred for the Germans, whom he blames for the death of his wife, drives him to murder his own son-in-law. The transformation of Donald’s character is an expression of the brutality of war—and...
(The entire section is 801 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of What Is Left the Daughter Characters. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!