What is a character sketch of Frederick in the play The Autumn Garden by Lillian Hellman?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By choosing Frederick, you have certainly chosen one of the more interesting characters in The Autumn Garden to reveal in your character sketch. Not as much is revealed about Frederick as there is about other characters here and, in that sense, he escapes the disillusionment seen in many of the others in the play.

Because The Autumn Garden is primarily about the disillusionment associated with reaching middle age (especially in the turn of the 20th century), a character as young as Frederick is spared much of the despair. Frederick is a budding young author and is about to publish his first book. We know this almost immediately in the play because he is looking over the galleys in preparation for its publication. There is also much excitement because Frederick is also engaged to be married to Sophie. It seems that the world is Frederick’s oyster. However, just like the other characters, Frederick has issues that prevent full happiness.

Frederick does not escape from all the negative issues due to the true feelings of Sophie. You see, Sophie Tuckerman (Frederick’s fiancé), isn’t in love with Frederick at all. In fact, Sophie lives in a boarding house and sees a marriage to this young author as a way to escape her humdrum life. Sophie’s mother gets involved in Frederick’s life when she insists that all marriages should be based on love. It is at this point that Frederick becomes a pawn in Sophie’s love tryst as she kisses another man and begins other various scandals.

In conclusion, even though Frederick isn’t the focus of this play (in that he is young and not middle-aged), it turns out that he has just as much to be worried about. Although he is an author about to be published, he has a fiancé who doesn’t love him. Give Frederick twenty years and he will be as sad and disillusioned as the other characters in The Autumn Garden.

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