Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon Characters

Marjorie Kellogg

The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon, a novel in which little “action” occurs, derives its success largely from the deftness of Kellogg’s characterizations of the three “freaks.” Each carries the emotional baggage of a complex and painful life, and the ways in which their complicated psyches clash and harmonize comprise the main subject matter of the book. Because much about each character (including such secondary characters as Mario and the dog) is recounted by the omniscient narrator, the reader knows much more about them than they know about one another, which lends their interaction poignancy and humor.

Arthur is the most sympathetic character of the three, and he is also the most fully developed. Since he speaks little, much of what the reader knows about him comes from the narrator’s account of his early life. Unjustly sent to an institution for the feebleminded at an early age (he is by far the most intelligent of the trio), he has been ignored and misunderstood all his life. His first love, the cook at the mental institution, publicly humiliated him; his parents moved away without telling him. Arthur is a character of superior intellect and sensitivity who has faced a lifetime of rejection because of his inexplicable disease. His stream of consciousness is more frequently rendered than are Warren’s or Junie Moon’s, and this added insight enables the reader to see Arthur as he sees himself: as a potential lover but also as a desperately ill man.

The other half of this unlikely romantic pair is Junie...

(The entire section is 638 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Junie Moon

Junie Moon, a young woman with her face and hands severely disfigured from having acid poured on her by a sexually disturbed assailant. Although her maimed face masks her emotions and her occasional biting words hide her sensitivity, she is the emotional center for the three disabled friends who leave the hospital to set up housekeeping in a run-down shack. Repulsed by the sight of her own face, she nevertheless is sexually attractive to Arthur, with whom she falls in love and has a brief affair before his death, and Mario, with whom she and Warren live after Arthur’s death.


Arthur, a young man with an undiagnosed, progressive neurological disease. Walking with a lurching gait and waving his hands wildly around his face, he disguises his feelings by his nervous tics, yet his expressive eyes reveal his deep sensitivity. Deserted by his parents at a state school for the mentally handicapped, he runs away after being humiliated by Ramona, a cook he loves. He works for a time as a Western Union messenger and later is the only one of the three friends to look for a job. Rejected by the fishmonger Mario as a sexual pervert, he disappears to the woods before returning to his friends in a weakened state with a pet dog. On a vacation to the beach, he confesses his love for Junie Moon. He has a brief affair with her, then dies in her arms when they return home.


Warren, a paraplegic who has the idea...

(The entire section is 612 words.)