Violet Venable, a wealthy Southern matron of the New Orleans Garden District, mother of the late Sebastian Venable. She is an aging woman of fading beauty, with light orange or pink hair. She wears a lavender lace dress and has a starfish of diamonds pinned over her “withered bosom.” She has devoted her life to her late son, even refusing to return to her critically ill husband so that she could stay with her son and keep him from becoming a Buddhist monk. She and her son traveled every summer, and with her encouragement he wrote one poem each summer. Having suffered a stroke that slightly paralyzed one side of her face, she was rejected as a traveling companion on her son’s last and fatal summer voyage and was replaced by her husband’s niece, Catharine Holly. Violet is devastated by Sebastian’s rejection and death and most of all by Catharine’s story of what happened that last summer, a story that is destroying the legend of everything for which Violet has lived. She has proposed to fund young Doctor Cukrowicz’s experimental work in exchange for his performing a lobotomy on Catharine to silence her horrible stories. Violet has been accustomed to getting her own way and will use any means at her disposal to get it.
Catharine Holly, the young and beautiful cousin of Sebastian Venable. She wears a suit that was bought for her by her cousin Sebastian, and her hair has been done in a beauty parlor. She is quite nervous, moving about with quick, dancelike movements. She attempts to smoke cigarettes, which her nun attendant does not allow but the doctor permits. She is the niece of Violet’s husband and is strongly disliked by Violet. She, her mother, and her brother are dependent on Violet for financial support. Ignored by a weak, indulgent mother and egotistical, self-indulgent...
(The entire section is 765 words.)