Dan Courser, the husband of Laura and primary narrator. He is the father of two children and a graduate of the local vocational college. He is very skilled with his hands and has worked for seven years as a high school shop teacher. He came from a poor home with an abusive and alcoholic father. His mother, who was the best part of that unpleasant home, worked nights in the local paper mill. As an adolescent, he was constantly in trouble for driving while drunk, for vandalizing summer homes, and for suspected paternity. He possessed a “macho” philosophy about women: No girl was too bad for him, and all girls wanted him. His high school English teacher described his style as “braggadocio,” a term Dan considered a compliment. Dan thought he could acquire whatever he wanted, like Aladdin with his lamp. His courtship of Laura forced him to “chasten” his impulses, to grow and to change, although he felt he could never catch up with her after his ultimate flamboyant act, which turned Laura into a quadriplegic. Throughout the novel, Dan struggles with his own needs, with the feeling that he must constantly prove himself, and with tremendous guilt for the accident that disabled his wife.
Laura Shurrock Courser
Laura Shurrock Courser, a quadriplegic wife and mother. She has thick reddish hair and a body shaped by dancing, an activity she loved before her accident. Dan describes Laura as not beautiful, but earnest with a no-nonsense nose. She is restrained; she dealt with her anger as a child...
(The entire section is 636 words.)