Doc Delaney, a chiropractor in a Midwestern city. This outwardly gentle, courteous, and patient man in his early forties seethes inside because of his frustrating life. He felt compelled to drop out of medical school about twenty years earlier and marry Lola because he had made her pregnant. Married to a woman who is his social and intellectual inferior, and disappointed in his ambitions and by the fact that Lola was rendered sterile by the botched delivery of their stillborn first child, Doc became an alcoholic who was nearly homicidal when intoxicated. He squandered all the money he had inherited and allowed his practice to go to ruin. For the past eleven months, he has belonged to Alcoholics Anonymous and is trying to rebuild his shattered life.
Lola Delaney, a housewife. Married to Doc at the age of eighteen, Lola has remained mentally an adolescent for the past twenty years. In contrast to her shy, introverted husband, she has no internal resources and is completely dependent on other people. She has let herself become fat, and she neglects her housekeeping, along with her personal appearance. At the age of eighteen, she had been strikingly attractive and much sought after by young men. Because this was the only area in which she ever experienced success and satisfaction, she has never gotten over her youthful illusions about romantic love. Her small lost dog, Little Sheba, symbolizes for her, on an unconscious level, her own lost youth and beauty, which...
(The entire section is 628 words.)