The Ripening Seed

by Colette

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

There are three main characters in The Ripening Seed.

Philippe. He is the character most established and written about in the novel. He is sixteen years old and spends his summers with his family along the coast of Brittany. He is described as young and in shape. He is slender but has noticeable muscles. Throughout the novel he grows from a young boy to a young man as he develops feelings of love and lust. He falls in love with his close friend, Vinca. In addition, he is seduced by an older woman named Madame Dalleray. Philippe encounters his first real adult dilemma as he must make sense of desire and romance.

Vinca. She is Philippe’s childhood friend, turned love interest. She is fifteen years old when the story is written and she also spends her summers along the coast. She has known Philippe from a young age and has always admired him. However, it is during this summer that she discovers her attraction and desire for him. She is devastated and confused when Philippe has an affair with an older woman. She must decide whether or not to accept him back and continue their relationship.

Madame Camille Dalleray. She is the older woman Philippe has an affair with. She is overly feminine and dripping with sexual desire. Philippe is instantly attracted to her and openly gawks. Unlike Vinca, Madame Dalleray lacks innocence and represents experience.

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