Eugene Morris Jerome
Eugene Morris Jerome, an Army recruit from Brooklyn, New York. Eugene is a young Jewish man who aspires to be a writer. He fervently records his deepest thoughts and impressions in his journal, often leaving himself more an observer than a participant in human interactions. He does have principles—respect, compassion, and open-mindedness—but he is hesitant to act on them. He always sees the lighter side of life, and he enlists his quick and acerbic wit to ease him through difficult situations. Having lived a sheltered life, Eugene is eager and determined to lose his virginity and fall in love. At least at the beginning of the play, he does not quite know the difference.
Arnold Epstein, an Army recruit from Queens, New York. Epstein is a stubborn Jewish intellectual who has very strong principles and absolutely refuses to compromise them. He has a nervous stomach and resents being in basic training, and he cannot understand why rigorous discipline and blind obedience are considered superior to respect and compassion in the shaping of soldiers. He immediately identifies Toomey as his enemy and squares off for a fierce battle. To Epstein, life is serious business, a continuous moral quandary. He is clever and sardonic, but rarely light-spirited. When humiliated, and even when beaten on his own terms, he accepts defeat stoically.
Joseph Wykowski, a recruit of Polish background from Bridgeport, Connecticut, with a stomach of steel and an...
(The entire section is 644 words.)