Lucy Winter, who becomes involved with campus people and events, has no loyalties and no preconceived likes and dislikes. She also has no philosophy of education, probably because she had not planned to teach and has no prior experience. The fact of Lucy’s broken engagement suggests her capacity to love, to give of herself to others. She is respected by many on campus as a confidante, a tower of strength, and a voice of integrity. Lucy’s loneliness without her former fiancé does not establish marriage as an ideal; Lucy is simply an individual whose plans had included marriage.
On the other hand, Carryl Cope, the medieval history professor who is recognized as an authority in her field, discreetly has her love affair with Olive Hunt, a wealthy trustee. Cope truly believes that the college is devoted to the pursuit of excellence, and she erroneously thinks that Jane Seaman shares this passion for excellence for its own sake. Although Cope misreads Jane, Cope herself does not waver in her position. She is a professor and a scholar. If Hunt proceeds to withdraw her bequest of millions of dollars and her allegiance to Appleton, she will have to part with Cope, who, although voting against the hiring of a psychiatrist, will remain loyal to her profession and to Appleton. Until the Seaman affair materializes, the diminutive Cope appears to be a giant. She finally admits to Jennifer Finch, a professor of mathematics, that she has been afraid to give love to...
(The entire section is 450 words.)