Caroline sets the novel in motion. Had Ben not arranged an exhibition of her works, he would not have asked Anne to write the catalog; hence, Anne would not have hired Laura.
Laura is the catalyst for Anne’s religious development, while her strangeness lends interest to the novel. Her physical appearance is significant, as it is one reason for her mother’s rejection. While not unattractively large, Laura is tall, with a sturdy bone structure. Her hair is red, her eyes blue, and her complexion fair. Laura’s mother, in contrast, is dark and petite. Moreover, Laura has a sister who is a replica of her mother and who thus has received all the mother’s attention and affection.
Anne, the protagonist, is the one character who develops to any extent. A woman who considers religion unnecessary and somewhat disquieting, she becomes marginally aware of this missing element in her life through her contacts with Laura and Jane Watson. After Laura’s death, she realizes that there is something higher than the material world and her children. In addition, she develops as a mother by letting her children experience tragedy instead of trying to protect them. Like Laura’s, Anne’s looks are important, for she too is tall, red-haired, and blue-eyed. Coincidentally, she is thirty-eight, the same age as Laura’s mother. Anne’s age and their similarity in appearance probably contribute to Laura’s love for her employer.
(The entire section is 541 words.)