(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed


Jannice, a young and dying prostitute. The streetwalker is a modern Everywoman who turns, in her final days on Earth, to family, church, social agency, lover, and finally poet. Of all those to whom she turns, including her father, the Bishop, none sustains her with love and compassion except the poet.

The Dreamer

The Dreamer, a young poet. Sensitive to the impoverished spirit of modern people, weighed down by mass conformity, he protests and urges the Down-and-Outs to throw off their worldly bonds. As Jannice dies, he sings his song of praise to the independent spirit who is dying within the gates.

The Bishop

The Bishop (Gilbert), Jannice’s father. Limited only to conventional responses, the guilty lover and irresponsible father cannot admit his guilt in spite of Jannice’s mockery. Worship of self has replaced compassion, and he can only utter Latin comfort as she dies.

The Old Woman

The Old Woman, Jannice’s mother, a drunkard steeped in sin and hatred. Her only happy memory is of a week spent with a long-dead Irish soldier.

The Atheist

The Atheist, the foster father of Jannice. Deserted by both the mother and the daughter, he is now too much interested in his rabble-rousing, speechifying, and pamphleteering to take Jannice back.

The Down-and-Outs

The Down-and-Outs, the victims of dead traditions, bowed by the master classes.

The Gardener

The Gardener, a man in love with physical love who rejects Jannice.

The Salvation Army Officer

The Salvation Army Officer, Jannice’s lover.