Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Harry Wilbourne, a twenty-seven-year-old intern working in a New Orleans hospital. He meets and falls in love with Charlotte Rittenmeyer, a local socialite and would-be artist. Harry has humble antecedents and has made his way through medical school on a $2,000 legacy left to him by his doctor father. Although he is unaccustomed to going out socially, he accompanies an acquaintance from the hospital to a party. Over the next several weeks, Harry’s natural reticence is swept away by Charlotte’s vivacity, and he agrees to run away with her. Their short, tempestuous love affair eventually provides Harry with insights into matters of the human heart.
Charlotte Rittenmeyer, a bored, failed artist who latches onto the mild-mannered Harry Wilbourne, an impoverished intern whom she meets at a local artist’s salon. She willingly abandons her husband and two daughters to leave New Orleans and live with Harry, at first in Chicago, later in Utah, and finally in Texas, where she dies from a bungled abortion reluctantly performed by Harry. She helps Harry to discover love and the joys of sex, as well as to learn to relish life lived from day to day.
Francis “Rat” Rittenmeyer
Francis “Rat” Rittenmeyer, Charlotte’s husband, a sophisticated man about town. Because he is Catholic, he will not divorce his wife when she decides to elope with Harry;...
(The entire section is 514 words.)
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