Silver Water Characters
by Amy Bloom

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Silver Water Characters

(Short Stories for Students)

David is Rose and Violet’s father. He is, in the words of Violet, a ‘‘kind, sad man.’’ David is also a psychiatrist, yet he doesn’t recognize the signs of mental illness in his own daughter. He cares for his wife and his daughter, yet he doesn’t outwardly demonstrate the same emotional attachment to Rose that his wife does and, according to Violet, has less of an ability to calm her down when she ‘‘goes off.’’ He is the one who speaks in practical terms, for instance, how it is impossible to take care of Rose after Dr. Thorne’s death, and he is the one who takes care of the arrangements after Rose’s suicide.

Galen is Rose and Violet’s mother. She is a musician who is regarded by people in their town as eccentric. Galen is the first person to realize that Rose is suffering from a mental illness. Galen plays the piano in the countless hospitals, institutions, and halfway houses that are Rose’s homes over the next ten years. Galen is very close to her daughter, and Violet even thinks that Rose is the favored child.

Addie Robicheaux
Addie sings contralto in the church choir, along with Rose. She and Rose become close, and Addie is able to help Rose when she is experiencing mental breakdowns. Addie comes over to be with the family after Rose’s death.

Rose is Violet’s older sister. Until her first psychotic breakdown, at the age of fifteen, she led a normal life. She was well-liked at school, showed musical talent, and was idolized by Violet. With the onset of mental illness, however, Rose’s behavior grows erratic. Rose, and her illness, quickly become the focus of the family. Difficult to deal with, Rose is in and out of institutions and therapists’ offices. While under the care of Dr. Thorne, Rose makes great improvements. During this five-year period, she is able to live in a halfway house, make a friend, and sing in a church choir. After Dr. Thorne’s death, Rose begins to fall apart. She stops taking her medication. She gets thrown out of the halfway house for her violent behaviors and must return home to live with her parents. There she lashes out at her family. Eventually, Rose commits suicdie with a bottle of pills. Violet finds Rose outside, dying, but she does not call for help. Instead, she remains with her until dawn.

Dr. Thorne
Known to Rose as Big Nut, Dr. Thorne is the only therapist to whom Rose responds. With his help, Rose is able to move into a halfway house, stay on her medications, lose weight, stop behaving...

(The entire section is 685 words.)