Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Nancy, a middle-aged, well-to-do woman with an immeasurable love for life, adventure, and romance. Acutely aware of the time lost rearing a family, she views the remainder of her life positively and wants to fill those years by embracing all life has to offer, preferring to enjoy the beautiful expanse of the outdoors by trekking from beach to beach rather than staying in the stultifying confines of a retirement home. In conflict with her husband, who refuses to take part in any of her suggested recreations, Nancy, to no avail, takes various tacks (cajolery, mockery, and anger) against him to force him into activity. Her opportunity for excitement and purpose materializes with the arrival of Leslie and Sarah. She is able to share with them her innate inquisitiveness, ebullience, and compassion as she eagerly and openly explains to them the vagaries of the human condition.


Charlie, Nancy’s retired middle-aged husband. The antithesis to Nancy, Charlie resists change and wants nothing of adventure. His lifelong propensity for isolation, evident in his childhood memories of sinking to the sea’s bottom and relishing its peace and solitude, now reaches a crisis as he, painfully aware of his own mortality and cynically viewing his active life as passed, prefers spending his retirement doing absolutely nothing as if stoically awaiting inevitable death. His self-imposed detachment from life is ended abruptly, however, with the intrusion of...

(The entire section is 611 words.)