Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Caroline Kelly

Caroline Kelly, a woman in her thirties, the divorced mother of a son and a daughter. She earns her living as an emergency room nurse. She has shared a house for some time with Diana, her lesbian lover, but their relationship has problems that are becoming increasingly serious, and she feels a lack of security and the lack of social acceptability that marriage to a man would provide. She is tempted by the offer of marriage from Brian Stone, who is, like her former husband, a physician. Trying to decide, Caroline goes into therapy with Hannah Burke. In the course of the therapy, she recognizes that her upbringing, by parents too busy being do-gooders to give any affection to their children, is at the root of her lack of security. Even her choice of an occupation is evidence of her compulsion, enforced by her childhood training, to help others before helping herself. In the end, she recognizes that whatever her future holds, she will not remarry, she will not worry about sexual orientation, and she will change her occupation. Hannah declares that Caroline’s therapy is at an end; she may need help again in the future, but she has progressed to a point at which she can be confident in her ability to make sane choices.

Hannah Burke

Hannah Burke, a psychotherapist specializing in women’s problems. Despite a long and happy marriage, she has lived for many years with despair resulting from the accidental deaths of two of her children, and her own unhappy childhood enables her to understand the difficulties that have led...

(The entire section is 646 words.)