Ian Bedloe, the protagonist, the son of Bee and Doug Bedloe, optimistic parents of the ideal American family. Ian cannot reconcile life’s reality with his family’s rosy views. He tells his elder brother Danny that Danny’s wife Lucy is being unfaithful and that “their” new baby is no more Danny’s than are Lucy’s other two children, by her first husband. When Danny dies in a car wreck immediately afterward, followed quickly by Lucy’s death by an overdose of sleeping pills, Ian blames himself for Danny and Lucy’s “suicides” and orphaning of three small children. Ian becomes the “Saint Maybe” of the novel’s title, torn between his fear of making more mistakes and his human desires. He is a flawed hero who must come to terms with his own and others’ humanity.
Lucy Dean Bedloe
Lucy Dean Bedloe, Danny’s wife and Ian’s sister-in-law. A traditional American housewife, Lucy depends on men to support herself and her children. Impoverished in youth, when she developed the habit of shoplifting items she could not afford, undereducated, and untrained for work, Lucy marries early, is deserted, and divorces her immature husband, becoming totally responsible for the welfare of her two children. Drawing on her youthful energy and sexual attractiveness, Lucy wins the hand of Danny Bedloe in marriage. Initially, Ian secretly admires her. After Danny’s sudden death, Lucy finds it difficult to...
(The entire section is 587 words.)