Characters Discussed

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George Marvin Brush

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George Marvin Brush, a traveling salesman for a textbook company. He tries hard to live a clean, Christian life. Having undergone a religious conversion, he tries to live up to unattainable ideals, often irritating people by his priggishness and his insistence that other persons ought to live better lives. He is a believer in “ahimsa,” a theory requiring that he react in the exact opposite way to what others expect in a given situation. This belief and its practice often plunge him into trouble.


Roberta, a farmer’s daughter seduced at one time by George Brush. He marries her to salve his conscience, even though she really wants nothing more to do with him. Exasperated by the conditions of their marriage, she finally leaves her husband, whom she heartily dislikes, and returns to her parents’ farm.

Doremus Blodgett

Doremus Blodgett, a traveling salesman for a hosiery company. He is infuriated by George’s righteousness and idealism until he learns that George has not lived entirely untouched by sin.

Mrs. Margie McCoy

Mrs. Margie McCoy, Blodgett’s mistress, who travels with him posing as a cousin.


Herb, a newspaper reporter in Kansas City who becomes George’s friend. Herb tries to help George see that he must let other people live in their own ways. At Herb’s death, he leaves a child for George to care for.


Elizabeth, Herb’s daughter. She is adopted by George and complicates her foster parents’ married life, as both of them compete for her affection.

George Burkin

George Burkin, a movie director. He and George meet in jail. Burkin is in jail for being a Peeping Tom and George for graciously helping a robber hold up a store. Burkin tries to convince George that he has never grown up.


Lottie, Roberta’s sister, who tries to persuade George that the answer to his problem with Roberta is a marriage and an immediate divorce.




Bat, and


Louie, three of George’s friends in Kansas City. They play enormous practical jokes on George. Once, angered by his priggishness, they almost beat him to death.

Mrs. Crofut

Mrs. Crofut, keeper of a brothel. She is passed off to George as a genteel society matron. When her identity is revealed, George refuses to believe the truth about her and her bevy of beautiful “daughters.”

Mrs. Efrim

Mrs. Efrim, the owner of the store George helps a man rob.


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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 145

Blank, Martin, ed. Critical Essays on Thornton Wilder. New York: G. K. Hall, 1996.

Blank, Martin, Dalma Hunyadi Brunauer, and David Garrett Izzo, eds. Thornton Wilder: New Essays. West Cornwall, Conn.: Locust Hill Press, 1999.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Thornton Wilder. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2003.

Burbank, Rex J. Thornton Wilder. 2d ed. Boston: Twayne, 1978.

Castronovo, David. Thornton Wilder. New York: Ungar, 1986.

Goldstein, Malcolm. The Art of Thornton Wilder. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1965.

Goldstone, Richard H. Thornton Wilder: An Intimate Portrait. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1975.

Harrison, Gilbert A. The Enthusiast: A Life of Thornton Wilder. New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1983.

Lifton, Paul.“Vast Encyclopedia”: The Theatre of Thornton Wilder. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Simon, Linda. Thornton Wilder: His World. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1979.

Walsh, Claudette. Thornton Wilder: A Reference Guide, 1926-1990. New York: G. K. Hall, 1993.

Wilder, Amos Niven. Thornton Wilder and His Public. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980.

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Critical Essays