Virginia Hull Babcock (Ginny) Bliss
Virginia Hull Babcock (Ginny) Bliss, the protagonist and narrator of half the novel. The daughter of a plant manager, she is a popular high school girl in Hullsport, Tennessee; she is a cheerleader and girlfriend of the star athlete, with whom she has hilarious introductory sexual experiences. When she loses her virginity, however, it is to one of the tough guys, an outcast. At her father’s insistence, she reluctantly enters a college in Massachusetts (Wellesley, thinly disguised as Worthley), where she comes under the influence of Miss Head, a professor of philosophy, and is introduced to the life of the mind and of artistic appreciation. During her second year, she meets Edna (Eddie) Holzer, who ridicules what Ginny has learned from Miss Head and who introduces her to lesbian sexuality. They leave college to set up an apartment in a Boston slum. They participate in anti-Vietnam War activities before moving to Stark’s Bog, Vermont. Eventually, they live in an all-female commune with three other women, where they are harassed by the local young men, whose diversions are hunting and snowmobiling. After Eddie dies in a violent accident, Ginny marries Ira Bliss, the leader of the young men. They have a daughter, Wendy, but the marriage is not a success despite Ginny’s efforts to act the role of a loving housewife and mother. When Hawk shows up, he convinces Ginny to participate in sexual exercises supposed to increase her spiritual awareness. They are discovered in a compromising position by Ira, who throws out Ginny. After a brief interlude in Montreal, Ginny is called back to Hullsport, where her mother is very ill. After her mother’s death, she tries to commit suicide but fails; she decides to go on living, although she has no plans and no prospects.
Wesley Marshall Babcock IV
Wesley Marshall Babcock...
(The entire section is 773 words.)