Characters

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 203

In The Human Comedy, Homer Macauley is a 14-year-old boy in Ithaca who helps support his widowed mother, Katey Macauley , by working in the town's telegraph office. There, he discovers much about life. He is interested in participating in the hurdles event at school and practices to get better....

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In The Human Comedy, Homer Macauley is a 14-year-old boy in Ithaca who helps support his widowed mother, Katey Macauley, by working in the town's telegraph office. There, he discovers much about life. He is interested in participating in the hurdles event at school and practices to get better. He is the protagonist of the novel. Katey speaks to her dead husband, Mr. Macauley.

Homer's siblings include his older brother, Marcus, who is away fighting in World War II. At the end of the novel, Marcus is killed, and his friend, Tobey George, an orphan, comes to Ithaca and fulfills the role of the oldest son in the Macauley family. Homer also has a younger brother named Ulysses, who delights in waving to passing train passengers, and an older sister named Bess who, with her friend Mary Arena, goes out with soldiers to help them get through the war. Mary Arena is Marcus's girlfriend.

At the telegraph office, Homer works with Willie Grogan, an older man who is often drunk, and with the manager, Mr. Spangler, the compassionate and wise man. Homer is taught by Miss Hicks, who keeps Homer and a well-off boy named Hubert after school to teach them a lesson.

Characters Discussed

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 319

Katey Macauley

Katey Macauley, a widow who is trying to bring up her family alone. She has imaginary talks with her dead husband, in which she discusses family problems with him. She feels that her husband is not dead as long as he lives in the lives of his children. She accepts Tobey into the family after Marcus is killed.

Homer Macauley

Homer Macauley, Katey’s second oldest son, who takes a night job at the telegraph office. He gets up early every day and exercises so that he will be in shape to run the hurdles at the high school. He finds the telegram that Mr. Grogan has typed out telling Katey that Marcus has been killed.

Marcus Macauley

Marcus Macauley, Katey’s oldest son, who goes into the Army and makes friends with Tobey George. Tobey has no family of his own, and so Marcus shares stories of his family with Tobey. Marcus wants Tobey to go to his home and marry his sister, Bess, after the war. Marcus is killed in action.

Mary Arena

Mary Arena, Marcus’ sweetheart.

Tobey George

Tobey George, an orphan whom Marcus befriends in the Army. Tobey is lonely and lives vicariously through Marcus’ family. He returns to Marcus’ home after the war and, in a sense, takes Marcus’ place as a son.

Mr. Grogan

Mr. Grogan, Spangler’s assistant in the telegraph office, with whom Homer has long talks concerning the efficacy of war. Mr. Grogan has a weak heart and gets drunk every night. One of Homer’s duties is to see that he stays awake. He dies after typing out the message that Marcus has been killed in action.

Thomas Spangler

Thomas Spangler, the manager of the telegraph office.

Bess Macauley

Bess Macauley and

Ulysses Macauley

Ulysses Macauley, Katey’s two other children.

Lionel

Lionel, Ulysses’ friend, who takes him to the library and shows him the many books.

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