Meg and Monty consider Giles “pernickety, selfish, imposing.” He is a totally self-centered person who thinks nothing of having Tibba devote her life to him, who sees his wives’ deaths only in terms of how they affect him, who barely notices Louise until she professes her love. His only passion is his Tretis.
Giles’s main motive in devoting his life to this work is not love of scholarship but his desire to show up the Cambridge dons who, twenty years before, denied him a fellowship and the academic life in which he would have reveled—even if blind. He believes that the chaos of his life would not have occurred had not the dons been so callous. Giles gradually decides, however, that he has wasted his life being bitter, realizing that it is “easier to be cynical, cold, skeptical, pessimistic.” He discovers that marriage, fatherhood, and blindness have done little to alter him from the smug undergraduate he once was. Revisiting Cambridge with Louise reminds him of his failure there and all the failures since, and causes him to realize that he has been longing for forgiveness for his hatred of the world. At first, he feels superior to Louise’s dull, devoutly religious Cambridge friends, but he comes to envy their “niceness,” since any such quality in himself has been worn away by cynicism.
Tibba resembles any intelligent, good-natured teenager except that she stammers and knows little of the modern world. She adores Virginia Woolf and tries to...
(The entire section is 610 words.)