Drumm (Desmond Drumm)
Drumm Desmond Drumm), a sixty-four-year-old Irish civil servant on the verge of retirement. Crusty, intellectual, and snobbish, with a biting wit, he clearly regards himself as better than everyone he knows. He is married to a woman he does not respect, childless, and separated from his community by his exacting standards for intellect and work; he is almost totally isolated. News that he has only six months to live prompts Drumm to attempt a healing of old wounds and a final assessment of his life. That final accounting primarily involves his relationship with his wife and with two childhood friends.
Desmond (Desmond Drumm)
Desmond (Desmond Drumm), a twenty-four-year-old, Drumm’s younger self. Desmond is in love with Mary and eager to believe that he can make her live up to what is “best” in her, encouraging her to take her studies more seriously and to avoid the dances and frivolity she loves. The seeds of his later arrogance are evident in his scornful attitude toward Lar. His fellow students’ nickname for him, “Mammy Cough-Bottle,” hints at the later difficulty he will have getting along with his community.
Dolly Drumm, Drumm’s sixty-year-old, long-suffering wife, who loves him dearly but is desperately afraid of angering him. She is more aware of his scorn for her, and more wounded by it, than she reveals. She smooths over his every harshness with deliberate cheerfulness and continues to hope for a better future.
(The entire section is 652 words.)