The Characters

(Critical Guide to British Fiction)

Lucinda Brayford is primarily the story of its namesake. Although several characters step briefly to the forefront—including William, Frederick, Julia, Stephen, Arthur and Marian Brayford of Crittenden Manor, and Paul—it is Lucinda who links them all. The others are important insofar as they reveal something about Lucinda. As Stephen says on one occasion, “I know a lot more about mum than she thinks I do.” In like manner, other characters consciously or unconsciously reveal to the reader facets of Lucinda of which she herself is often unaware.

Frederick and Julia, Lucinda’s parents, became hard-bitten in an effort to restore the Vane fortunes. Emerging from this atmosphere, Lucinda was targeted for her parents’ social goals without being of requisite stock. She was the sweetest of the Vane children, but almost of necessity she took on her parents’ stamp. Lucinda shows a mercenary aspect when leaving a devoted admirer for the more favorable match with Hugo. This aspect is developed further when she pays back her husband in kind by having an affair. When pushed to the wall, Lucinda will see to her interests. Throughout the travail of Hugo’s war wound and Pat’s departure, Lucinda demonstrates that she is made up of equal parts of compassion, romance, vulnerability, and resolve. She learns from her experiences and reacts to her environment. With age, Lucinda is required to take on the role of arbiter and executor in family matters....

(The entire section is 516 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Lucinda Brayford

Lucinda Brayford, a rich “Anglo-Australian” from Melbourne. Lucinda’s story begins when, as a beautiful and fatuous young woman in snobbish Melbourne society, she ensnares and marries an English nobleman. As the years pass and the events of the twentieth century bear on her, Lucinda evolves from a foolish romantic into a pragmatist but loses none of the snobbishness and false values that have shaped her pointless life. Lucinda’s doings form the core of the novel, and all the other characters revolve around her.

Hugo Brayford

Hugo Brayford, Lucinda’s husband, an English gentleman. Hugo emerges as a stereotypical British aristocrat: handsome and gallant, shallow and idle, doing nothing except hunting and socializing. His long-standing affair with another woman and the war injury that leaves his face deformed strongly affect the way Lucinda’s outlook on life develops.

Frederick Vane

Frederick Vane, Lucinda’s father, a successful Australian businessman. The brusque, middle-aged, nondescript Vane typifies upstart colonials as seen through British eyes. His obsession with money and social climbing help to determine not only Lucinda’s loveless marriage but also her questionable values.

Julie Vane

Julie Vane, Frederick’s wife and Lucinda’s mother. A social climber who doggedly sets out to re-create British social life in...

(The entire section is 590 words.)