Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 380
The characters of "Jordan's End" are:
The young doctor:
The young doctor is a prominent character in the story. He meets with Judith Jordan, whose husband, Alan, is suffering from an inherited mental condition. In the young doctor's professional opinion, there is no hope of any cure for Alan. Before he leaves Jordan's End, he leaves a bottle of opiates with Judith. When he returns, he finds that the bottle has been emptied, which leads him to suspect that Alan's death was hastened by human hands.
Father Peterkin is an old man who hitches a ride with the young doctor. It is Father Peterkin who regales the young doctor with stories about the Jordan family history. The old man reveals that the Jordan family's practice of intermarrying has contributed to their decline.
When Alan married Judith, the match was the first outside of the Jordan lineage. According to Father Peterkin, all of the Jordans married among themselves, and all of them inherited the curse of insanity.
Alan is Judith's husband and father to the couple's nine-year-old son. Despite his youth and physical perfection, Alan is not spared from being afflicted with insanity, a condition that has befallen all of his predecessors. In the story, he dies suddenly, and we are led to believe that Judith may have played a part in her husband's demise.
Judith is said to be very tall and thin. She is extremely beautiful. In the story, Judith is Alan's wife, and she loves him deeply. It is Judith who sends for the young doctor when Alan takes a turn for the worse. When she meets the young doctor, Judith reveals that Alan's grandfather is still living. However, the old man has been in an asylum for thirty years. Two of Alan's uncles are in the same asylum. Meanwhile, Alan's father died in the asylum a few years ago.
The text tells us that Judith also consults with Dr. Carstairs, then the preeminent psychiatrist in the state of Virginia. Both men pronounce Alan's condition incurable. It is intimated that Judith may have been instrumental in facilitating Alan's sudden demise.
Dr. Carstairs is a psychiatrist. In the story, he reveals that Alan Jordan will never be cured of his condition.
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