Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Corinne, a middle-aged actress. She spends her time in bed reading about a young man and woman who have recently been married. She is worried about her son, who has problems with drugs and who is under investigation by the police. She asks her friends Brown and Lambert to secure the release of her son.


Lambert, an Englishman who has made love to Corinne with the apparent understanding that he will intervene with the police authorities to secure her son’s release from jail.


Brown, an overweight, middle-aged friend of Corinne. He has a conversation with a man in a bar, where he exchanges money for little packages of powder. He later assures Corinne that her son will be freed. He also completes a jigsaw puzzle that represents the boys in the fishing scene and then scatters it.

A clown

A clown, who is pictured on a circus advertisement hanging on a barn. He participates in a dumb show with a monkey and another man who torments him. His performance is staged against a background of music that is frequently interrupted by the lion tamer’s animals.

Two young boys

Two young boys, who are fishing and take time to examine some film strips that they try to arrange in the proper sequence. Some of their film relates the story of Corinne at the beach. They notice a young mother leaving her child to meet her lover in a barn. They then head toward the barn to spy on the lovemaking.

Young men

Young men, who are part of a boisterous wedding celebration. They accompany the groom into a bar.


Man, who appears in a bar wearing a leather jacket and a cap and has a swarthy complexion. After talking with one of the women there,...

(The entire section is 749 words.)

The Characters

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

Simon only sketchily depicts the few characters in this novel. The reader finds that Corinne is actually an actress who plays a wealthy widow in the resort scenes. The young actor who portrays her son also appears in a film in which he is the groom at the bar. Lily the barmaid seems to have had a previous relationship with the man on the motorcycle who later assaults the groom. Meanwhile, a sad young bride awaits the drunken groom in a nearby hotel room.

Some of the characters that Simon creates do appear to have symbolic roles. The dog-faced, elderly farm wife may represent Cerebus, who guarded the gates of Hell in mythology. This old woman is an eerie figure, dressed mostly in black, and she reappears often in the farm scenes. She usually pushes an old baby carriage that is filled with grass to feed her caged rabbits. Similarly, Lambert at the beach resort may represent an author. When the novel closes, he is finishing a jigsaw puzzle, much as Simon creates and completes the puzzle of scenes in Triptych. The two young boys in the farm village remain unnamed and seem to represent all youth. They are healthy and exuberant and have an early adolescent interest in learning about sex; they not only spy repeatedly on the couple in the barn but also watch a young girl disrobe to swim, and the bits of film that they treasure mainly show the actress Corinne nude on a bed.

Simon’s primary depiction of women in Triptych is as sexual...

(The entire section is 426 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Gould, Karen L. Claude Simon’s Mythic Muse, 1979.

Jimenez-Fajardo, Salvador. Claude Simon, 1975.

Loubere, J.A. The Novels of Claude Simon

Roudiez, Leon S. French Fiction Today: A New Direction, 1972.

Sturrock, John. The French New Novel: Claude Simon, Michel Butor, Alain Robbe-Grillet, 1969.