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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 286

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The characters in "The Real Thing" are as follows:

The artist: The artist is the narrator of the story. He is incredulous when an obviously refined couple applies to become models in his studio. The artist imagines that Major and Mrs. Monarch would be far more successful if they worked in advertising.

In the end, the artist discovers that the Major and his wife are ill-suited for the work of modeling. Because of their aristocratic background and habits, the couple find it difficult to pose without inhibition. The artist feels much more comfortable working with Miss Churm and Oronte, his regular models.

Major Monarch: The Major is described as a man of fifty. He is authoritative, tall, and sturdy. In the story, we learn that he has recently lost his position in the Army. As a result, the Major and his wife are destitute and must find a way to make a living.

Mrs. Monarch: Mrs. Monarch is the Major's wife. She is slim, distinguished, and ten years younger than her husband. Mrs. Monarch's melancholy pervades her demeanor, but she is determined to succeed as an artist's model.

Miss Churm: Miss Churm is a talented artist's model. She is a natural and can pose as any character the artist desires. Her improvisational skills keep her in demand as a model.

Oronte: Oronte is an Italian vagabond. In the story, he works as one of the narrator's models. Oronte is as capable as Miss Churm in portraying various personalities before the artist's easel.

Jack Hawley: Jack is a friend of the narrator. In the story, he is the artist's trusted adviser. It is Jack who cautions the artist against retaining Major Monarch and Mrs. Monarch as models.