Carol Cutrere

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 224

Carol Cutrere is David's younger sister. She looks over thirty years old and likes to gain attention by her appearance. Her face and lips are powdered white, her eyes are outlined with black pencil, and her eyelids are painted blue. She admits to Val that she is an exhibitionist who wants to be noticed. She likes to drink and dance and expects to get her way, but she is also, in spite of her exhibitionism, vulnerable and lonely. Her family is the oldest and most distinguished in the area, but she is unpopular in the county. Some years earlier she was involved in civil rights campaigning and, after going on a protest walk wearing nothing but a potato sack, she was arrested for vagrancy. As a result, she is not allowed to stay in the county overnight. The local people gossip maliciously about her, calling her corrupt and degraded. She once met Val in New Orleans, and when he appears in town, she tries to get to know him better, but he is not interested in her. She entices him out on the ruse that her car needs fixing, and Val returns wiping lipstick off his mouth and face. But, it is clear he rejected her advances. After Val's murder, Carol takes his snakeskin jacket as a reminder of the wild freedom he represented.

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Lady Torrance

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 237

Lady Torrance is probably in her late thirties and still has a youthful figure. She is a passionate, emotional woman of Italian ancestry, whose state of mind borders on hysteria when she is under pressure. Physically tense, she must take pills to sleep at night. Lady is also lonely and bitter. She feels she has wasted her life, having been married for twenty years to Jabe, a man she hates. She was rushed into the marriage after she was jilted by her first lover, David Cutrere. Lady was pregnant with David's baby at the time, and she had an abortion. She still has hard feelings about David, and when she meets him again, she says he must never return to the store. Lady has also had to endure another tragedy. Her Italian immigrant father died in a blaze deliberately set at his orchard by a mob. She did not know it at the time, but finds out during the course of the play that Jabe was the leader of the mob. Lady has not forgotten her father and remodels the confectionery in the store so that it resembles his wine garden. It is her way of showing that she has not been defeated; she is determined to triumph over adversity. Lady feels liberated by her relationship with Val and becomes pregnant by him, and she exults in the fact that she is able to bear a child.

Valentine Xavier

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 334

Valentine Xavier is a wandering singer and musician of about thirty who is described in the stage directions as having a wild beauty about him. He wears a snakeskin jacket, mottled white, black, and gray. In the bars of New Orleans where he sang and lived wildly, he was known simply as Snake-skin. Val always carries a guitar with him, and he describes it as his ‘‘life's companion.’’ Music saves him whenever he gets into a bad situation. The guitar itself is covered with the autographs of famous blues singers. Val is a free spirit who does not fit into conventional society, and it is significant that the Choctaw cry given by the Conjure Man, a cry of wild intensity, coincides with Val's first entrance.

Val was raised in a place called Witches' Bayou, and he claims to have unusual powers of self-control. He can hold his breath for three minutes, stay awake for forty-eight hours, and not urinate for a day. He also claims that his body temperature is two degrees higher than normal, like a dog's. He left Witches' Bayou when he was in his teens and drifted to New...

(The entire section contains 1463 words.)

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