Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Kenneth (Ken) Talley, Jr.

Kenneth (Ken) Talley, Jr., the current owner of the Talley Place, which has been in the family for generations. A Vietnam veteran who lost both legs in the war, he is resisting returning to his former life as a schoolteacher because he fears that the students will not accept his disability. Although he and his partner Jed have put three years into fixing up the home and gardens, Ken is prepared to sell the Talley Place to John and Gwen and start a new life somewhere else. Ken, his sister June, John, and Gwen shared a communal life back in the 1960’s. Ken was in love with John, who chose Gwen instead. Ken learns that John lied to Gwen all those years ago, setting in motion the events that led to John’s marriage and Ken being drafted and then injured. When Ken learns the truth about his past, he is better able to face his future. He and Jed resume making plans for the garden and for Ken to teach in the fall.

John Landis

John Landis, Gwen’s controlling husband and Ken’s best friend since high school. Ken has always been attracted to John, and they slept together once years ago. Unable to handle commune life—or perhaps unable to accept his own feelings for Ken—John lied to get rid of Ken and married the wealthy Gwen. Now he manages her copper business, without her knowing it, and encourages her singing career. He and Gwen want to buy the Talley Place to use as a private recording studio. He does not believe that she has any real talent; he only wants her to be distracted so that she will not interfere with the business. When he and Ken talk over the old days, he reveals by the force of his denial that he blames himself for Ken’s injury. When his plans...

(The entire section is 710 words.)