Although Pop Fraser is initially seen as the narrator of the novel, Petry’s narrative rotates point of view among the characters, a technique that enables the collective history of the characters to emerge from individual points of truth, as well as to illustrate that no single character holds a monopoly on the truth. Pop Fraser acquaints readers with the action of the narrative, and he represents a delightful combination of the best of the old traditions as they merge with the best of the new.
Johnnie’s point of view and inner conflict emerges distinctly through his descriptions of Glory’s hair as a shimmering net, “spread wide to hold his heart.” Ironically, through Glory, Johnnie is trapped by his idealization and dreams. Only when confronted directly with the truth of Glory’s infidelity can Johnnie see her clearly. His glimpse of reality affords him the opportunity to view himself and his place in Lennox in a harsher light. Glory’s infidelity is the impetus for his change, which mirrors the changes he sees around him in Lennox and in American society as a result of the war.
Glory is trapped by her fears of an uncertain future in a society that is reeling from two world wars. She watches her life unfurl before her with the avid interest of an audience watching a cinema show. She imagines herself as a film heroine, a fantasy that is fueled by her affair with Ed, who compares her to the actress Lana Turner. Glory is a representation of the brassy and cheap new society, enamored of glamour and hungry for...
(The entire section is 631 words.)