Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Neil McRae

Neil McRae, a pianist and composer. At about age thirty, he seems to be without prospects because his impracticality borders on the irresponsible. He is, however, personable and engaging, and his apparent indifference to material well-being springs more from his artistic creed than from sloth or carelessness. Wholly dedicated to his music, he lives an independent, quasi-bohemian life that is much too quixotic to suit the Cady clan. Although not in love with Gladys, Neil proposes to her when his need to be “subsidized” is pressed by Dr. Rice and Cynthia Mason. In a dream induced by sleeping pills, Neil envisions a nightmarish future with Gladys and his potential in-laws. He wakes up a wiser man, in love with Cynthia, the proper person, and determined to reject all that the Cadys represent, including the prostitution of his art.

Dr. Albert Rice

Dr. Albert Rice, a long-standing friend to Neil and of the same age. He is humorous and amiable, and he is considerably more practical than Neil. He has a genuine concern for his friend’s health, material welfare, and artistic future. In addition to providing the pills that put Neil to sleep, he enlists Cynthia’s help in convincing Neil to propose to Gladys. As do the other characters, he appears in other guises in Neil’s dream, first as the minister who marries Neil and Gladys, then as a reporter at Neil’s trial.

Cynthia Mason

Cynthia Mason, Neil’s neighbor, also a musician, about twenty-five years old. Initially, she seems too motherly toward Neil, taking him...

(The entire section is 655 words.)