Alexandra (Alex) Henry
Alexandra (Alex) Henry, a young, unmarried American woman who acts as hostess for the Irish Cullen family and for the novel’s narrator, an American from the Midwest. She is the impressionable mind that Alwyn Tower, the narrator, most worries will be influenced by the story of disappointed love that the Cullens enact. The level-headed Alex seems less vulnerable than Alwyn fears and immune to his “grandiose theories.” She is far more practical and skeptical than Alwyn and less prone to concoct stories with morals. She is also less wary of her own judgments than the self-critical Alwyn. She believes that the afternoon’s events have convinced her not to marry, but she weds Alwyn’s brother after she returns to the United States.
Madeleine Cullen, the owner of Lucy, the “pilgrim hawk,” who means “all the world to her.” The bird is to Mrs. Cullen what writing is to Alex, “an image of amorous desire.” On a more literal level, her love for the bird suggests her lack of satisfaction with her husband, with his inability to satisfy her sexual and her aesthetic needs. He is too literal and down to earth to satisfy her fanciful nature.
Larry Cullen, Madeleine’s husband, an Irish aristocrat who dislikes the hawk on which his wife dotes. He tries to free the creature but finds that he cannot escape either its wild clutches or...
(The entire section is 518 words.)