Jasper Milvain, a writer, a selfish egoist and money-minded opportunist who believes in giving the reading public what it wants. In his courting, he vacillates toward Marian. Being motivated only by his interest in money, he finally loses her. Seeing a union with the widowed Amy as a road to success, he marries her and achieves his goal.
Alfred Yule, a literary hack, tall, severe-looking, and embittered. He hates both Jasper and Fadge. After losing his sight, he is dependent on Marian to care for him.
Marian Yule, Alfred’s daughter, courted by Jasper either lightly or seriously according to her apparent financial status. Finally seeing through him, she rejects him.
Amy Reardon, Alfred’s niece, daughter of Edmund Yule. Unable to inspire Edwin’s creative work and angry over his being a clerk, she returns to her mother, taking Willie. Hurt by Edwin’s rejection of her offer to return and help him with her inherited money, she is shocked to learn of his dying condition when they are reconciled by Willie’s illness and death. Devotedly, she tries to cheer Edwin during his few remaining days of life. Emotionally captured by Jasper’s favorable review of Edwin’s works, she is happy to marry him and afterward happy with him.
Edwin Reardon, Amy’s husband, a...
(The entire section is 429 words.)