Hal Carter, a young vagabond. Hal is a powerfully built drifter, a former college athlete reluctantly aware that he must find himself a job and a place in the world or be a drifter all of his life. Hal joins a Labor Day picnic at the invitation of his former college roommate, Alan Seymour. He escorts Millie, the bookwormish younger sister of the town beauty, Madge, to the envy of Rosemary, the aging schoolteacher who rooms with the Owenses. Hal’s presence creates havoc in the lives of the picnickers, especially the women.
Madge Owens, a beautiful woman. Hal’s meeting with Madge, the town beauty, has an electric tension even though they are not certain of their immediate attraction for each other. Madge knows only that she is even less certain that she wants to marry Alan, even though she is being pushed into it by her mother, Flo Owens.
Millie Owens, the highly intelligent, uninhibited younger sister of Madge. Millie has won a scholarship to the state university but knows very little about attracting members of the opposite sex. Ultimately, it is Millie who gives Madge the courage to follow Hal by stating, “For once in your life, do something bright.”
Flo Owens, the attractive mother of Madge and Millie. She rents rooms in her home to schoolteachers. Flo was deserted by her husband many years ago, and Hal reminds her of her husband, who could not accept life’s responsibilities. She wants Madge to marry...
(The entire section is 641 words.)