Victor Franz, a fifty-year-old police sergeant in New York City. Frustrated and disillusioned, Victor lives almost exclusively in the past, conveniently blaming his brother for the direction that his life has taken and unwilling to accept that he alone, by his own free will, charted his own destiny. He has a strong sense of familial loyalty. Victor’s self-esteem and self-worth rest solely in his belief that he did the honorable thing decades earlier by sacrificing his college studies to become a policeman so that he could support his bankrupt father. Now, sixteen years after his father’s death, Victor is forced into his life’s crisis and is immobilized: He lacks the courage to accept early retirement and begin a new career because that action would signify the meaninglessness of his life’s work as a policeman and, by implication, the vacuity of his allegiance to his father. His confrontation with the past and the high price he paid for his choices, symbolized in his task of selling his father’s possessions, reaches its climax when his brother, whom he has not seen since his father’s funeral, forces him to admit that he always suspected that his father had sufficient money to support himself without need for his financial assistance. When his brother offers him both the money from the sale of their father’s furnishings and a job at the hospital where he works, Victor refuses for two reasons: His acceptance would imply an admission that his life and work, his very existence, had no purpose, and indirectly it would signify his forgiveness of his brother for not helping support their father and thereby enabling Victor to attend college to pursue a career. Until the end, Victor holds tenaciously to his code of...
(The entire section is 718 words.)