Johnnie, the narrator, a writer. At the age of thirty, Johnnie finds himself trapped behind an adult “face” created by others. Realizing this when critics attack his first book, he regresses to adolescence, becoming embroiled against his will in the novel’s bizarre plot as though in a dream of immaturity. Abducted and returned to school by the pedantic Professor Pimko, he is powerless to convince anyone that he does not belong there or to assert a truly mature individuality. Passive and irresolute in general, Johnnie rarely articulates his feelings, acting furtively instead. Boarding at the home of the Youthfuls, for example, he falls in love with Zutka but wages a campaign of irrational behavior against her charms, finally bringing about a general brawl. In a world in which meaningful relationships are impossible, once Johnnie subverts the social forms that prevent genuine human contact, escape is his only recourse. At the novel’s end, he runs away from his uncle’s estate.
Professor T. Pimko
Professor T. Pimko, an educator. A ridiculous, bald little man in striped pants and tailcoats, he is so self-assured and overbearingly pedantic that he renders Johnnie helplessly boyish. He leads Johnnie off to school and later to the Youthfuls’ home. Pimko’s authority is shattered only after he is smitten by Zutka.
Pylaszczkiewicz (pee-LAHSH-kah-vihch), called Siphon, Johnnie’s schoolmate. Leader of the idealistic, purist faction at school, he engages in a duel of grimaces with Mientus. Victorious, he is then physically assaulted and his innocence violated through his ears, with fatal results.
Mientus, Johnnie’s schoolmate. Leader of the school faction denying youth’s innocence, he is the most innocent of all, though he spouts obscenities and engages in the duel with Siphon...
(The entire section is 800 words.)