People Like That Are the Only People Here

by Marie Lorena Moore

Start Free Trial

Student Question

Why are the main characters in "People Like That Are the Only People Here" unnamed?

Quick answer:

Names are not given to the main characters in "People Like That Are the Only People Here" arguably because the roles of "mother" and "husband" have become far more important than individual identities when dealing with a crisis of this magnitude.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Marie Lorena Moore does not tell us why she gives her characters labels rather than names, so we are left to surmise. There are a couple of great arguments that could be made in looking for an answer to this question.

Firstly, one could argue that the mother, who used to make glib jokes about motherhood and describe her thoughts as remarkably "unmotherly," has now become consumed by her role as mother in light of her child's illness. She has transformed from being a woman and an author to being nothing more or less than a mother. Her identity, as well as her husband's identity, become meaningless in light of the ordeal that they face. It could be argued that the lack of name given to "Baby" allows "Baby" to represent all victims of childhood cancers.

It is possible that the names have been left out to allow every family who has endured the stress of a sick child to be able to not only empathize with the protagonists in this story, but to relate as though it is their own story being told.

It is interesting to note that the male character in this story is known as "the Husband" rather than "the Father." This implies that he is less central to the suffering experienced in this story than the mother.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial