Characters Summaries

Author Index Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Abe, Kobo Inter Ice Age 4 Abe, Kobo The Ruined Map Abe, Kobo The Woman in the Dunes About, Edmond François The King of the Mountains Abrahams, Peter A Wreath for Udomo Achebe, Chinua Arrow of God Achebe, Chinua No Longer at Ease Achebe, Chinua Things Fall Apart Adamov, Arthur Ping-Pong Adams, Richard Watership Down […]

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Character Index Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

A… Jealousy Aadam Aziz Midnight’s Children Aadam Sinai Midnight’s Children A. A. Darmolatov A Tomb for Boris Davidovich Aafaa Madmen and Specialists Aaor Xenogenesis Aardvark Catch-22 Aaron Moses, Man of the Mountain Aaron The Blacker the Berry: A Novel of Negro Life Aaron The Green Pastures: A Fable Aaron Titus Andronicus Aaron Burr Burr Aaron […]

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Zuleika Dobson: Or, An Oxford Love Story Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Max Beerbohm First published: 1911 Genre: Novel Locale: Oxford, England Plot: Satire Time: Early twentieth century Zuleika Dobson, a bewitching young woman with whom all the Oxford undergraduates fall in love. She can love only a man who will not love her. After all the young Oxonians have committed suicide for love of her, […]

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Zuckerman Unbound Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Philip Roth First published: 1981 Genre: Novel Locale: New York City Plot: Comic realism Time: 1969 Nathan Zuckerman, an American Jewish novelist who has to cope with fame following the publication of his first successful novel. The novel, titled Carnovsky, is based enough on Nathan’s own experience that his family and friends become angry […]

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Zorba the Greek Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Nikos Kazantzakis First published: Vios kai politela tou Alexe Zormpa, 1946 (English translation, 1952) Genre: Novel Locale: Crete Plot: Psychological realism Time: Mid-twentieth century Zorba, the central figure of the novel. He is about sixty years old but feels that, ironically, his desires becomes more pronounced as he grows older. When he goes to […]

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Zoot Suit Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Luis Miguel Valdez First published: 1992 Genre: Play Locale: Los Angeles, California Plot: Historical Time: The 1940’s El Pachuco (pah-CHEW-koh), a mythical figure, the zoot-suited spirit of the Pachucos, alienated gangs of Mexican American youth living in the Los Angeles area. A rebellious, street-smart, young Chicano, El Pachuco is master of ceremonies of this […]

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The Zoo Story Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Edward Albee First published: 1959 Genre: Play Locale: Central Park, New York City Plot: Absurdist Time: A Sunday afternoon in summer, in the late 1950’s Peter, an executive for a publishing house. An average-sized and nearsighted man in his early forties, Peter has Catholic tastes and dresses conservatively; he is an upper-class representative of […]

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Zoo: Or, Letters Not About Love Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Viktor Shklovsky First published: Zoo: Ili, Pisma ne o lyubvi, 1923 (English translation, 1971) Genre: Novel Locale: A Russian émigré colony in Berlin Plot: Epistolary Time: The 1920’s Viktor Shklovsky (VIHK-tohr SHKLOV-skee), the narrator, a Russian novelist, literary critic, and political émigré living in Berlin after the consolidation of Bolshevik power in the Soviet […]

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The Zone: A Prison Camp Guard’s Story Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Sergei Dovlatov First published: Zona: Zapiski nadziratelia, 1982 (English translation, 1985) Genre: Novel Locale: A labor camp in Komi, in the northern Soviet Union Plot: Social morality Time: The early 1960’s Sergei Dovlatov (sehr-GAY dov-LAH-tov), the author not only of The Zone but also of a series of letters to its Russian émigré publisher, […]

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Zero Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Ignácio de Loyola Brandão First published: 1974 (English translation, 1983) Genre: Novel Locale: A large city in Latin America Plot: Political Time: The late 1960’s José Gonçalves (gohn-SAHL-vehz), also called Zé, a vagabond worker at odd jobs and later an assassin and subversive. At twenty-eight years of age, he is small and unattractive, with […]

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Zazie in the Metro Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Raymond Queneau First published: Zazie dans le metro, 1959 (English translation, 1960) Genre: Novel Locale: Paris, France Plot: Farce Time: Thirty-six hours in the mid-1950’s Zazie Lalochère (zah-ZEE lah-loh-SHEHR), a preteenage girl who is nasty, precocious, clever, and vulgar. She has come to Paris for the sole purpose of riding the subway. Unfortunately, the […]

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Zaïre Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Voltaire First published: 1733 (English translation, 1736) Genre: Play Locale: Jerusalem Plot: Tragedy Time: During the reign of Osman, Sultan of Jerusalem Zaïre (zah-EER), a slave of the sultan Orosmane, captured in infancy. Zaïre finds that she can love the Muslim ruler in spite of his religion. She discovers, however, that the Christian leader, […]

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Zadig: Or, The Book of Fate Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Voltaire First published: Zadig: Ou, La Destinée, histoire orientale, 1748 (English translation, 1749) Genre: Novel Locale: Babylon Plot: Social satire Time: Remote antiquity Zadig (zah-DEEG), a wealthy young man. Educated and sensible, he rises to the position of prime minister of Babylon, only to be forced to flee after his supposed affair with Queen […]

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Yvain: Or, The Knight with the Lion Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Chrétien de Troyes Genre: Play Locale: Britain Plot: Arthurian romance Time: Sixth century Yvain (ee-VAHN), a knight of the Round Table. After hearing of Calogrenant’s misadventure at the magic spring, Yvain avenges him and kills the Knight at the spring. Yvain marries the Knight’s widow, Laudine de Landuc, and lives happily until lured away […]

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Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Bebe Moore Campbell First published: 1992 Genre: Novel Locale: Rural Mississippi and Chicago, Illinois Plot: Social realism Time: The 1950’s to the 1980’s Armstrong Todd, a fifteen-year-old African American boy from Chicago who is sent to stay temporarily with his grandmother in Hopewell, Mississippi. Armstrong is a good-looking, outgoing boy whose only fault, an […]

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Young Törless Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Robert Musil First published: Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törless, 1906 (English translation, 1955) Genre: Novel Locale: A boarding school in the Austrian Empire Plot: Philosophical realism Time: The late nineteenth century Törless (TEHR-lehs), a young boy at the celebrated military boarding school “W” in a remote eastern town of the Austrian Empire. When Törless […]

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The Young Lions Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Irwin Shaw First published: 1948 Genre: Novel Locale: The Bavarian Alps, New York City, North Africa, England, France, and Germany Plot: War Time: 1937–1945 Christian Diestl (DEES-tehl), a former ski instructor, now a sergeant in the German army. Handsome, rugged, and cynical, he is determined to enjoy and to survive the war. Too worldly-wise […]

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Youma: The Story of a West-Indian Slave Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Lafcadio Hearn First published: 1890 Genre: Novel Locale: Martinique Plot: Psychological realism Time: The 1840’s Youma (yew-MAH), a slave in Martinique. She is a personification of loyalty. When her childhood playmate, her mistress’ daughter, asks Youma to take care of her child, Youma grants the dying woman’s request. Although she finds the child irksome […]

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You Must Remember This Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Joyce Carol Oates First published: 1987 Genre: Novel Locale: A city in upstate New York Plot: Psychological realism Time: The 1950’s Enid Maria Stevick, the youngest daughter of Hannah and Lyle Stevick. Although only fifteen years old, she embarks on a clandestine love affair, with her father’s half brother Felix. This secret, obsessional relationship […]

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You Know Me Al: A Busher’s Letters Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Ring Lardner First published: 1916 Genre: Novel Locale: Chicago, Illinois Plot: Satire Time: c. 1915 Jack Keefe, a right-handed White Sox pitcher. In his letters to Al, Jack gives a full account of his adventures; he also reveals himself to be a shameless braggart and chronic self-excuser. With complete lack of reticence, he discusses […]

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You Can’t Take It with You Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Authors: Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman First published: 1937 Genre: Play Locale: New York City Plot: Farce Time: 1936 Penelope (Penny) Vanderhof Sycamore, a mother in her mid-fifties, the matriarch of a comic household, carefree and easygoing. Penny clearly loves her family and life itself. After a typewriter is mistakenly delivered to her, she […]

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You Can’t Go Home Again Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Thomas Wolfe First published: 1940 Genre: Novel Locale: New York, England, and Germany Plot: Autobiographical Time: 1929–1936 George Webber, a young writer in the first flush of success as a novelist. He learns that success brings enemies and that success is sometimes empty of meaning. His great aim in life, idealist that he is, […]

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Yonnondio: From the Thirties Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Tillie Olsen First published: 1974 Genre: Novel Locale: A Wyoming mining town, a South Dakota farm, and Omaha, Nebraska Plot: Realism Time: The 1920’s Anna Holbrook, who is married to Jim and is the mother of Mazie, Will, Ben, the baby Jim, and baby Bess, born later in the story. Early in her life, […]

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The Yemassee: A Romance of Carolina Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: William Gilmore Simms First published: 1835 Genre: Novel Locale: South Carolina Plot: Adventure Time: Early eighteenth century Gabriel Harrison (Governor Charles Craven), a young man of commanding presence and gay, worldly manner. A stranger looked on with suspicion by some of the South Carolina frontiersmen, he wins them over through his valiant leadership in […]

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The Yellow Wallpaper Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Charlotte Perkins Gilman First published: 1892 Genre: Novella Locale: New England Plot: Social realism Time: The late nineteenth century The narrator, unnamed, who also is the protagonist. She is an imaginative, creative woman living in a society that views women who exhibit artistic and intellectual potential as anomalies, misfits, or, as in this story, […]

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A Yellow Raft in Blue Water Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Michael Dorris First published: 1987 Genre: Novel Locale: The Pacific Northwest Plot: Family Time: Late 1980’s Rayona Taylor, the fifteen-year-old daughter of American Indian Christine George Taylor and African American Elgin Taylor. After Rayona’s parents separate, she is brought up by her alcoholic mother. When Christine becomes seriously ill as a result of her […]

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Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Ishmael Reed First published: 1969 Genre: Novel Locale: Yellow Back Radio (a town in the Old West) and Washington, D.C. Plot: Satire Time: 1801–1809 The Loop Garoo Kid, a black circus cowboy, an American Hoo-Doo manifestation of Lucifer. His evil reputation, however, is unwarranted: He identifies himself as “the cosmic jester,” an eternal pleasure […]

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The Years Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Virginia Woolf First published: 1937 Genre: Novel Locale: London, England Plot: Domestic realism Time: 1880–1937 Colonel Abel Pargiter, a solid, middle-class, retired army officer, father of the family whose progress through the years is traced in fragmentary episodes from 1880 to 1937. Lonely and purposeless, he sits in his club, goes to the city, […]

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The Yearling Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings First published: 1938; illustrated Genre: Novel Locale: Florida scrub country Plot: Regional Time: Late nineteenth century Jody Baxter, a young Florida boy. A lover of animals, of play, and of the excitement of hunting, Jody is a child at the beginning of the story. Matured by the experiences of one year—his […]

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Year of the Unicorn Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Andre Norton First published: 1965 Genre: Novel Locale: Another world Plot: Science fiction Time: Unspecified Gillan, the protagonist and narrator. An orphan reared in Abbey Norstead, Gillan is about twenty years old and without a home or social status. She elects to become a bride of a Were-Rider, a member of an efficient but […]

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The Year of the Dragon Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Frank Chin First published: 1981, in The Chickencoop Chinaman and The Year of the Dragon: Two Plays by Frank Chin Genre: Play Locale: San Francisco’s Chinatown Plot: Social Time: The 1970’s Fred Eng, a Chinese American travel agent and tourist guide, head of Eng’s Chinatown Tour ‘n Travel. Fred, the eldest son of Pa […]

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The Year of Living Dangerously Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: C. J. Koch First published: 1978 Genre: Novel Locale: Indonesia, primarily Jakarta Plot: Political Time: 1965 Guy Hamilton, a correspondent for ABS, an Australian news agency. Tall and handsome, Hamilton was born in England but grew up in Singapore and Australia. He becomes one of the best newsmen in Jakarta, Java. He and Billy […]

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The Yacoubian Building Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Alaa al-Aswany Alternate Title: Imarat Yaqubian First published: 2002 (English translation, 2004) Genre: Novel Locale: Downtown Cairo, Egypt Plot: Social criticism Time: 1990–92 Zaki Bey el Dessouki, an older gentleman with an office in the Yacoubian building. At sixty-five, his body is tiny and emaciated, his face wrinkled; he dyes his remaining hair black […]

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Xenogenesis Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Octavia E. Butler First published: 1989, as Xenogenesis (includes Dawn, 1987; Adulthood Rites, 1988; and Imago, 1989) Genre: Novels Locale: Chkahichdahk, a living Oankali “spaceship,” and Earth Plot: Science fiction Time: 250–350 years after a fictional holocaust on Earth Lilith Iyapo, a survivor of a nuclear war that almost completely destroys Earth. Terrified to […]

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Xala Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Ousmane Sembène First published: 1973 (English translation, 1976) Genre: Novella Locale: Dakar, Senegal Plot: Social realism Time: The early 1970’s Abdou Kader Beyè (ah-BEW KAY-dehr BAY-yay), called El Hadji, a prosperous Senegalese businessman in his fifties. He is a Muslim and a polygamist, with two wives and eleven children. Ousted from his first career […]

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Wuthering Heights Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Emily Brontë First published: 1847 Genre: Novel Locale: The moors of northern England Plot: Love Time: 1771–1803 Heathcliff, a dark-visaged, violently passionate, black-natured man. A foundling brought to the Earnshaw home at an early age, he is subjected to cruel emotional sufferings during his formative years. His chief tormentor is Hindley Earnshaw, who is […]

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Written on the Body Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Jeanette Winterson First published: 1992, in Great Britain (first pb. in US, 1993) Genre: Novel Locale: London and Yorkshire, England Plot: Picaresque Time: The late twentieth century The narrator, unnamed and of unspecified gender. Significantly a professional translator, the narrator also acts as sole interpreter, through whose perspective all other characters and events are […]

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A Wrinkle in Time Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Madeleine L’Engle First published: 1962 Genre: Fantasy; moral tale; science fiction Locale: The northeastern United States and the planets Camazotz and Uriel Plot: Fantasy Time: The mid-twentieth century Meg Murry, the protagonist. At the age of thirteen, Meg is going through an awkward phase. Her figure is gangly and her hair stringy; she wears […]

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The Wreckage of Agathon Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Gardner First published: 1970 Genre: Novel Locale: Sparta, in ancient Greece Plot: Philosophical Time: Sixth century b.c.e. Agathon (AG-uh-thon), a philosopher and seer, originally a native of Athens but now living in exile in Sparta. Old, fat, and balding, Agathon is considered by some a wise man; by most, he is dismissed as […]

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The Wreck of the “Grosvenor” Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: W. Clark Russell First published: 1877 Genre: Novel Locale: The Atlantic Ocean Plot: Adventure Time: Nineteenth century Mr. Coxon, the captain of the Grosvenor. He is a tough skipper who is hard on his crew to the point of cruelty. He even refuses to pick up survivors from one shipwreck. Later, he is forced […]

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A Wreath of Roses Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Elizabeth Taylor First published: 1949 Genre: Novel Locale: Abingford, England Plot: Character study Time: A summer in the mid-1940’s Camilla Hill, an unmarried school secretary in her late thirties who usually makes no effort to enhance her pleasant-enough, blue-eyed looks and good figure. After years of lazy, serene summer holidays with her two closest […]

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A Wreath for Udomo Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Peter Abrahams First published: 1956 Genre: Novel Locale: London, southern France, and the country Panafrica Plot: Political realism Time: The 1950’s Michael Udomo (ew-DOH-moh), a Panafrican who leads his country’s opposition to colonialism. A central characteristic of Udomo is that, even while a doctoral student in England, he is devoted to his country’s liberation. […]

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Woyzeck Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Georg Büchner First published: 1879 (written, 1836; English translation, 1927) Genre: Drama Locale: Germany Plot: Psychological realism Time: Early nineteenth century Friedrich Johann Franz Woyzeck (FREE-drihkh YOH-hahn frahnts VOY-tsehk), a superstitious, slow-witted peasant conscripted as a fusilier in the German army. He is devoted to his sweetheart and their small son. To earn money […]

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The Would-Be Gentleman Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Molière First published: 1671 as Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (English translation, 1675) Genre: Drama Locale: Paris, France Plot: Comedy of manners Time: Seventeenth century Monsieur Jourdain (zhohr-DAHN), a rich, forty-year-old tradesman. Ashamed of and denying his father’s occupation, he tries to pass as a gentleman through elaborate spending of his wealth. He has a “sweet […]

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World’s End Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Thomas Coraghessan Boyle First published: 1987 Genre: Novel Locale: Upper Hudson Valley of New York; Pieterskill, New York, and environs (fictional) Plot: Historical Time: 1660s-80s and 1920s-60s Harmanus Van Brunt, seventeenth-century son of a fisherman from the Netherlands and ancestor of Walter Van Brunt. He comes to America with his family in 1663 to […]

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The World’s Illusion Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Jakob Wassermann First published: Christian Wahnschaffe, 1919 (English translation, 1920) Genre: Novel Locale: Europe Plot: Social realism Time: Prior to World War I Christian Wahnschaffe (VAHN-shahf-feh), the son of a rich German capitalist, a young man of great physical courage. He lives and travels in the best European society. Through his association with a […]

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The World of the Thibaults Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Roger Martin du Gard First published: Les Thibault, 1922–1940: Le Cahier gris, 1922; Le Pénitencier, 1922; La Belle Saison, 1923; La Consultation, 1928; La Sorellina, 1928; La Mort du père, 1929; L’Été 1914, 1936; Épilogue Genre: Novel Locale: France Plot: Social realism Time: Early twentieth century M. Thibault (tee-BOH), an eminent Catholic social worker […]

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A World of Strangers Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Nadine Gordimer First published: 1958 Genre: Novel Locale: Johannesburg, South Africa Plot: Social satire Time: The early 1950’s Tobias (Toby) Hood, a publisher’s agent. He has come from London to Johannesburg, South Africa, to work for a time in his family’s publishing firm, Aden Parrot. Brown-haired and stocky, the Oxford-educated, twenty-six-year-old Toby is the […]

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A World of Love Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Elizabeth Bowen First published: 1955 Genre: Novel Locale: County Cork, Ireland Plot: Psychological Time: Two summer days in the early 1950’s Antonia Montefort, a photographer in her early fifties, the owner of the dilapidated Montefort manor in the south of Ireland. Antonia inherited the manor from Guy Montefort, her cousin, who was killed in […]

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The World My Wilderness Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Rose Macaulay First published: 1950 Genre: Novel Locale: A village in the south of France and London Plot: Social realism Time: The years immediately following World War II Helen Michel, the handsome and sensuous widow of Maurice Michel and former wife of Sir Gulliver Deniston. In her early forties, curvaceous, with tawny eyes, dark […]

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World Enough and Time Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Robert Penn Warren First published: 1950 Genre: Novel Locale: Kentucky Plot: Philosophical realism Time: 1801–1826 Jeremiah Beaumont (jeh-reh-MI-uh BOH-mont), a man betrayed by his idealism as well as by the compromises and realities of life. An earnest young lawyer, he first becomes disillusioned with his benefactor, Colonel Cassius Fort, a famous lawyer and politician, […]

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The World According to Garp Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Irving First published: 1978 Genre: Novel Locale: Boston; Steering, a preparatory school; Vienna; and New York City Plot: Picaresque Time: 1942 through the early 1970’s T. S. Garp, a writer. Because his father dies before he is born, Garp grows up in a world created by his mother. As a result, he spends […]

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The Works of Love Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Wright Morris First published: 1952 Genre: Novel Locale: Nebraska, California, and Chicago Plot: Regional Time: The 1880’s to the 1930’s Will Jennings Brady, a hardworking man who holds a number of jobs, but none for very long. A onetime handyman, night clerk in a hotel, hotel manager, chicken farmer, egg entrepreneur, and waybill sorter, […]

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The Workhouse Ward Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Authors: Douglas Hyde and Lady Augusta Gregory First published: 1909 Genre: Play Locale: A ward in Cloon Workhouse, Ireland Plot: Comedy Time: The 1900’s Michael Miskell, a pauper and current resident of the Cloon Workhouse. Michael is an old and disputatious peasant who spends his time talking to his former neighbor, Mike McInerney, who is […]

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Works and Days Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Hesiod Genre: Poetry Locale: The village of Ascra in central Greece Plot: Moral Time: Hesiod’s lifetime Hesiod (HEE-see-uhd), an honest and hardworking Greek farmer. His father, a seafaring trader (and presumably a farmer as well), had emigrated from his homeland on the coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) in a state of poverty and […]

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The Words upon the Window-Pane Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: William Butler Yeats First published: 1934 Genre: Play Locale: Dublin, Ireland Plot: Naturalism Time: The 1920’s Jonathan Swift, the eighteenth century satirist and poet, here a spirit called up in a séance. The ghost of Swift resembles the man at a more or less recognizable point in his life, during old age but before […]

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Words and Music Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Samuel Beckett First published: 1962, in Evergreen Review Genre: Play Locale: Unspecified Plot: Absurdist Time: Unspecified Croak, a character addressed as “lord” by Words; Croak, in turn, refers to Words and Music as his “balms” and “com-forts” and, more familiarly, as Joe and Bob. Wearing carpet slippers and carrying a club, Croak arrives late, […]

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A Word Child Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Iris Murdoch First published: 1975 Genre: Novel Locale: London, England Plot: Psychological Time: The early 1970’s Hilary Burde, a linguist, former don, and minor bureaucrat, the brother of Crystal and lover of Thomasina. A big, hairy, dark man, Hilary, now guarded and remorseful, irresistibly attracts the three women on whom the plot turns. He […]

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Woodstock Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Sir Walter Scott First published: 1826 Genre: Novel Locale: England Plot: Historical Time: 1651 Sir Henry Lee, a Royalist forced by the soldiers of Cromwell to move from the royal lodge, Woodstock, with his daughter. After they move back to the lodge, he helps to hide Prince Charles until the young prince can make […]

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The Woods Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: David Mamet First published: 1979 Genre: Play Locale: A summer cottage in the woods Plot: Psychological realism Time: The 1970’s Ruth, a young woman seeking a romantic commitment from her reluctant lover. Spending a weekend at a cabin with Nick, trying to escape the pressures of the city, their jobs, and their obviously deteriorating […]

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The Woodlanders Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Thomas Hardy First published: serial, 1886–1887; book, 1887 Genre: Novel Locale: Rural England Plot: Social realism Time: Nineteenth century Grace Melbury, a young Englishwoman whose expensive education sets her apart from her family and neighbors in the village of Little Hintock. She returns to find that she is intended by her father to be […]

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Woodcutters Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Thomas Bernhard First published: Holzfällen: Eine Erregung, 1984 (English translation, 1987) Genre: Novel Locale: Vienna, Austria Plot: Social realism Time: The 1980’s, in retrospect, the 1950’s The narrator, a writer who has recently returned to Vienna after twenty-five years in London. He is disgusted with himself for having accepted an invitation from the Auersbergers, […]

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Wonderland Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Joyce Carol Oates First published: 1971 Genre: Novel Locale: Upstate New York; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Chicago; Wisconsin; New York City; and Toronto Plot: Psychological realism Time: 1939–1969 Jesse Harte, later Vogel, and then Pedersen, a high school student who survives his distraught father’s murder of the remaining Harte family, during the Depression, in upper […]

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Wonderful Fool Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Shsaku End First published: Obaka san, 1959 (English translation, 1974) Genre: Novel Locale: Tokyo, Japan Plot: Wit and humor Time: 1975 Gaston (Gas) Bonaparte, a native of the Savoy region in France and a descendant of Emperor Napoleon I. Having failed to qualify as a missionary priest in France, he has followed an inner […]

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The Wonder-Worker Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Dan Jacobson First published: 1973 Genre: Novel Locale: London and Switzerland Plot: Psychological symbolism Time: c. 1950–1970 Timothy Fogel, a psychotic individual who parallels the narrator. Beginning with his conception and ending with the murder of Susie, the narrative traces Timothy’s development as a strange, isolated boy into a profoundly disturbed young man. As […]

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The Women’s Room Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Marilyn French First published: 1977 Genre: Novel Locale: A New Jersey suburb and Cambridge, Massachusetts Plot: Social realism Time: Primarily 1968–1970, with extended flashbacks to the early decades of Mira’s life Mira, a graduate student in the English department at Harvard who is the divorced mother of two sons. She is older than most […]

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The Women of Trachis Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Authors: Ezra Pound (translator) and Sophocles First published: Trachinai, c. 435–429 b.c.e. (English translation, 1729; Pound’s translation, 1954) Genre: Play Locale: Trachis Plot: Tragedy Time: Mythic Hellenic prehistory Daianeira (day-an-EH-rah), also known as The Day’s Air or Daysair, the daughter of Oineus and wife of the great hero Herakles. Powerfully alluring and aware of her […]

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Women of Messina Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Elio Vittorini First published: Le donne di Messina, 1949; revised, 1964 (English translation, 1973) Genre: Novel Locale: A village in Italy and various railroad cars Plot: Social realism Time: 1945–1946; epilogue, 1949 The narrator, who is never named. His father worked for the railroad company, but this information is the only distinctive point about […]

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The Women of Brewster Place: A Novel in Seven Stories Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Gloria Naylor First published: 1982 Genre: Novel Locale: An urban neighborhood in the North Plot: Social realism Time: Unspecified, but most likely during and after the 1960’s Mattie Michael, a strong, elderly, unmarried black woman who reared a son before moving to Brewster Place. Mattie is the pivotal character in the novel. It is […]

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Women in Love Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: D. H. Lawrence First published: 1920 Genre: Novel Locale: England and Austria Plot: Psychological realism Time: Early twentieth century Rupert Birkin, a school inspector in the mining district of Beldover. As the novel opens, he has become disenchanted with Hermione Roddice and, in terminating their stultifying, prolonged affair, is finding his way toward a […]

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Women Beware Women Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Thomas Middleton First published: 1657 Genre: Drama Locale: Florence, Italy Plot: Tragedy Time: Early seventeenth century The Duke of Florence, a lecherous, ruthless ruler. Capturing Leantio’s wife with the aid of Livia and Guardiano, he takes her partly by force and partly by seduction. Later, having sworn an oath to his brother, the Lord […]

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The Women at the Pump Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Knut Hamsun First published: Konerne ved vandposten, 1920 (English translation, 1928) Genre: Novel Locale: A small coastal town in northern Norway Plot: Satire Time: The late nineteenth century Oliver Andersen, a man who lost a leg and possibly (the villagers speculate) something more in a mysterious shipboard accident. Lazy, self-seeking, and full of guile, […]

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The Woman’s Prize: Or, The Tamer Tamed Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Fletcher First published: 1647 Genre: Drama Locale: Italy Plot: Farce Time: Sixteenth century Petruchio (peh-TREW-kee-oh), a widower, famous as the tamer of his shrewish first wife, Kate. Angered and confused by the various husband-taming tricks of Maria and beaten at every point, he at last surrenders to her and is rewarded with a […]

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A Woman’s Life Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Guy de Maupassant First published: Une Vie, 1883 (English translation, 1888) Genre: Novel Locale: Normandy and Corsica Plot: Naturalism Time: Early nineteenth century Jeanne de Lamare (zhahn deh lah-MAHR), the woman whose life is recounted from young womanhood to the time she becomes a grandmother. As an innocent young girl, just out of a […]

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The Woman Who Owned the Shadows Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Paula Gunn Allen First published: 1983 Genre: Novel Locale: Albuquerque, New Mexico; San Francisco, California; and Oregon Plot: Psychological realism Time: The 1970’s and 1980’s Ephanie Atencio (EHF-uhn-ee ah-TEHN-see-oh), a woman who grew up among the Guadalupe Indians in New Mexico learning tribal stories from her grandmother. Because of her mixed racial background, she […]

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Woman on the Edge of Time Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Marge Piercy First published: 1976 Genre: Novel Locale: New York City and environs, and Mattapoisett, Massachusetts Plot: Utopian Time: 1976 and 2137 Consuelo (Connie) Camacho Ramos (kohn-SWEH-loh kah-MAH-choh RRAH-mohs), a thirty-seven-year-old Mexican American woman whose early beauty has been erased by hard times and tragedy. Her first husband was killed, and her daughter was […]

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Woman of the Pharisees Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: François Mauriac First published: La Pharisienne, 1941 (English translation, 1946) Genre: Novel Locale: Bordeaux, France Plot: Social realism Time: The early 1900’s to World War I Louis Pian (lwee pyahn), the elderly narrator of the story, a landowner, the illegitimate son of Marthe Pian and her first cousin, Alfred Moulis. He is thirteen years […]

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The Woman of Rome Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Alberto Moravia First published: La romana, 1947 (English translation, 1949) Genre: Novel Locale: Rome, Italy Plot: Naturalism Time: Twentieth century Adriana (ah-dree-AH-nah), a prostitute. She is a heroically proportioned woman, even at sixteen years of age. She first augments her income as a seamstress by working as an artist’s model; next, she tries to […]

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A Woman Killed with Kindness Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Thomas Heywood First published: 1607 Genre: Drama Locale: Yorkshire, England Plot: Tragedy Time: Early seventeenth century John Frankford, a well-to-do gentleman. Generous and just to his whole household, he wins undying loyalty from his servants. He finds his trust betrayed by his beloved wife and his friend Wendoll, whom he had taken into his […]

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The Woman in White Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Wilkie Collins First published: 1860 Genre: Novel Locale: England Plot: Detective and mystery Time: The 1850’s Walter Hartright, the primary narrator. Engaged as an art instructor to Laura Fairlie, he endears himself to his student, who is betrothed to an older man of rank. Laura decides to complete her wedding plans, and Hartright leaves […]

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The Woman in the Dunes Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Kobo Abe First published: Suna no onna, 1962 (English translation, 1964) Genre: Novel Locale: A Japanese seaside village Plot: Allegory Time: 1955–1962 Niki Jumpei, a Japanese schoolmaster and amateur collector of insects. Thirty-one years old and ordinary looking, Niki is a rather commonplace member of the conformist urban Japanese populace. He lives in the […]

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Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Sandra Cisneros First published: 1991 Genre: Short fiction Locale: The borderlands of the United States and Mexico Plot: Social Time: The 1910’s-the 1980’s Lucy Anguiano (ahn-gee-AH-noh), a lively, dark-skinned Texas girl. She inspires the young female protagonist and narrator in “My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn” to depict their experiences of growing up. […]

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The Woman Hater Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Authors: John Fletcher and Francis Beaumont First published: 1607 Genre: Drama Locale: Milan Plot: Comedy Time: Early seventeenth century Gondarino (gohn-dah-REE-noh), a widower, so disillusioned by his late wife’s infidelity that he despises all women. Plagued by Oriana’s teasing, he retaliates by accusing her of wantonness. When his lies are discovered, he is ordered to […]

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The Woman from Sarajevo Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Ivo Andri First published: Gospodjica, 1945 (English translation, 1965) Genre: Novel Locale: Sarajevo and Belgrade Plot: Psychological Time: 1900–1936 Rajka Radakovi (RI-kah rah-DA-koh-vihch), a woman from Sarajevo. Rajka is the quintessential miser. Her miserliness derives from a sense of insecurity, which came about primarily from her father’s failure in business. Her father dies from […]

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Wolf Totem Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Lü Jiamin (pseudonym: Jiang Rong) Alternate Title: Láng Túténg First published: 2004 (English translation, 2008) Genre: Novel Locale: Inner Mongolia, China Plot: Nature writing Time: 1967–2002 Chen Zhen, a student from Beijing in Inner Mongolia during China’s Cultural Revolution. An ethnic Han Chinese of no particular distinguishing features, Chen Zhen has an inquisitive mind […]

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Wolf Solent Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Cowper Powys First published: 1929 Genre: Novel Locale: Devon, England Plot: Psychological realism Time: Twentieth century Wolf Solent, a history master hired by Squire Urquhart. Wolf returns to Ramsgard and meets Gerda Torp. Yielding to his animal nature, he seduces her, but he later makes her his wife. Forced by financial necessity to […]

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Wolf Hall Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Hilary Mary Mantel First published: 2009 Genre: Novel Locale: London, England; York, England; Calais, France Plot: Historical fiction Time: 1500–1535 Thomas Cromwell, the ambitious son of an alcoholic blacksmith who becomes chief aide to Cardinal Thomas Wolsey before eventually rising to confidant and minister to King Henry VIII. A cunning and intelligent religious skeptic, […]

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A Wizard of Earthsea Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Ursula K. Le Guin First published: 1968 Genre: Novel Locale: The imaginary world of Earthsea Plot: Fantasy Time: Unspecified Ged, or Sparrowhawk, the title character. Over the course of the novel, he learns the true meaning of wizardry, its limits as well as its capabilities. As a youth on the Isle of Gont, Ged […]

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Wives and Daughters Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell First published: serial, 1864–1866; book, 1866 Genre: Novel Locale: Hollingford, a country town in England Plot: Domestic realism Time: Mid-nineteenth century Molly Gibson, the only daughter of the town doctor. When the story opens, Molly is twelve years old, eagerly anticipating the annual garden festival on the grounds of the Towers, the […]

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Within the Gates Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Sean O’Casey Genre: Drama Locale: A park in London Plot: Morality Time: Twentieth century Jannice, a young and dying prostitute. The streetwalker is a modern Everywoman who turns, in her final days on Earth, to family, church, social agency, lover, and finally poet. Of all those to whom she turns, including her father, the […]

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With Fire and Sword Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Henryk Sienkiewicz First published: Ogniem I mieczem, 1884 (English translation, 1890) Genre: Novel Locale: Poland and the Ukraine Plot: Historical Time: Seventeenth century Pan Yan Skshetuski (sksheh-TEW-skih), a young lieutenant and the valiant hero of this romance dramatizing the seventeenth century struggle for Polish unity. Courageous, loyal to his prince, magnanimous to his defeated […]

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The Witches of Eastwick Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Updike First published: 1984 Genre: Novel Locale: Eastwick, Rhode Island Plot: Psychological symbolism Time: The 1960’s Alexandra Spofford, a large, gray-blonde divorcée and mother. She and two fellow divorcées are convinced they have magic powers and explore witchcraft as a form of women’s liberation. Together they form an alliance in rebellion against the […]

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Wise Virgin Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: A. N. Wilson First published: 1982 Genre: Novel Locale: London, Cambridge, and Wiltshire Plot: Love Time: The early 1980’s Giles Fox, a blind scholar and librarian, forty-eight years old. His life already is dictated by habit: Every day he wears a gray suit, white shirt, and silk blue tie, and each dinner is a […]

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Wise Blood Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Flannery O’Connor First published: 1952 Genre: Novel Locale: The American South Plot: Psychological realism Time: The 1940’s Hazel Motes, the protagonist, the twenty-two-year-old grandson of a backwoods preacher. He is driven to find Christ in the city. Hazel tested his grandfather’s religion in the Army and goes to the city of Taulkinham to test […]

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Winterset Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Maxwell Anderson First published: 1935 Genre: Drama Locale: New York Plot: Tragedy Time: Twentieth century Esdras, a kindly and philosophical old rabbi who is troubled because of his son’s guilt in withholding testimony in the Romagna case. Convinced of his past error in trying to protect Garth, Esdras decides to tell of Shadow’s murder. […]

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The Winter’s Tale Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: William Shakespeare First published: 1623 Genre: Drama Locale: Sicilia and Bohemia Plot: Tragicomedy Time: The legendary past Leontes (lee-ON-teez), the king of Sicilia. For many years a close friend of King Polixenes of Bohemia, Leontes, curiously, becomes insanely jealous of him. Afraid of becoming a cuckold, he imprisons Hermione, wrests her son away from […]

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The Winter of Our Discontent Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Steinbeck First published: 1961 Genre: Novel Locale: New Baytown, Long Island Plot: Social realism Time: 1960 Ethan Allen Hawley, a storekeeper, the protagonist. As his name suggests, he is descended from a line of early pioneering Americans, but he has descended, too, into lower-class circumstances. The family fortune has been lost, and although […]

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Winter in the Blood Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: James Welch First published: 1974 Genre: Novel Locale: Northern Montana Plot: Family Time: Early 1970’s The narrator, an American Indian of Blackfeet and Gros Ventre ancestry. He remains nameless throughout the novel. As the story begins, he has returned to his family’s home on the reservation after years of drifting from place to place. […]

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The Winners Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Julio Cortázar First published: Los premios, 1960 (English translation, 1965) Genre: Novel Locale: Buenos Aires and aboard a cruise ship Plot: Satire Time: The 1950’s Gabriel Medrano (meh-DRAH-noh), a dentist and a womanizer who is dissatisfied with life on board the Malcolm.He allies himself with a group that does not accept the official explanation […]

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The Wings of the Dove Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Henry James First published: 1902 Genre: Novel Locale: London and Venice Plot: Psychological realism Time: c. 1900 Mildred (Milly) Theale, “the dove” who goes to Europe to learn to live and to die there of an incurable disease. A handsome young woman of great means, inherited through the deaths of her entire family of […]

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