While there are a number of background characters, including other people at the Vienna conference and in Isadora’s earlier life, the story revolves around only three: Isadora, her husband Bennett, and Adrian Goodlove.
Isadora is the central character and narrator, and the story is the story of her life thus far, told within the framework of a few months of time as she and her husband travel to Europe. A Jewish woman who grew up in New York in an eccentric home, she is daughter to a flamboyant and artistic mother and a father who was a songwriter and traveling businessman. Also living with them was her grandfather, who, also an artist, had the habit of painting over her mother’s canvasses.
Isadora’s life is defined in part by her mother but mostly by men. She reads male authors such as D. H. Lawrence to find out about women, she goes to so many psychiatrists that on the plane to Vienna she is able to remember being the patient of most of the doctors traveling with them, and she allows herself to be defined by her marriages and love affairs. So it is that her struggle for self-definition is also framed by relationships with men. Her husband Bennett represents safety, tradition, following the rules. Adrian represents the opposite of all that: rebellion, living for the moment, ignoring consequences. Until the end, her choice is not about who she will be, but about with whom she will be, which man will define her.
Bennett Wing is...
(The entire section is 412 words.)