Alma Winemiller, the daughter of a minister in Glorious Hill, a small town in Mississippi. In the prologue, she and John Buchanan are shown as children at a fountain of Eternity in the town in the early years of the twentieth century. The scene shows their pattern as children to foreshadow their pattern as adults: attracted to each other but unable to achieve true communication because she is sensitive and primarily spiritual (as she says, Alma means soul) and he, though capable of a degree of sensitivity, is primarily physical. He is thus representative, in a sense, of the anatomy chart that he shows Alma near the end of the play. As an adult, Alma is given to panic attacks and frequently goes to John’s father for help, even in the middle of the night.
John Buchanan, the son of a physician, frequently at odds with his father. As an adult and a physician himself, he is uncertain that he wants to join his father’s practice. The Buchanans and Winemillers are next-door neighbors. In the end, John achieves an understanding of “soul” and will be a successful and empathic physician and husband.
The Reverend Winemiller
The Reverend Winemiller, Alma’s father. Incapable of empathy and lacking genuine faith, he is unsuccessful in all of his roles, as minister, father, and husband.
Mrs. Winemiller, Alma’s...
(The entire section is 418 words.)