John Singer, a tall, immaculate, soberly dressed mute who mysteriously attracts troubled people to him. He considers Mick pitiful, Jake crazy, Dr. Copeland noble, and Biff thoughtful; they are all welcome to visit or talk to him. Ironically, he himself longs to talk manually to his insane mute friend Spiros in the asylum but cannot penetrate Spiros’ apathy and craving for food. Singer shoots himself, leaving his other four friends variously affected by his death.
Mick Kelly, a gangling, adolescent girl always dressed in shorts, a shirt, and tennis shoes until she gets a job in a five-and-ten-cent store. A passionate lover of music, she finds relief from her loneliness by talking to Mr. Singer and listening to his radio. After his death, the loneliness returns, along with a feeling that she has been cheated, but by whom she does not know.
Biff Brannon, a café proprietor, a stolid man with a weakness for cripples and sick people and an interest in human relationships. Having watched Mr. Singer with Jake and Mick, he is left after Singer’s death puzzled and wondering whether love is the answer to the problem of the human struggle.
Jake Blount, a frustrated, idealistic workingman who tries to rouse his fellow workers; a squat man with long, powerful arms. He believes that Mr. Singer is the only one who...
(The entire section is 455 words.)