Characters Summaries

Wings Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Arthur Kopit First published: 1978 Genre: Play Locale: A hospital and a convalescent hospital Plot: Expressionism Time: The 1970’s Emily Stilson, a retired aviator in her seventies. She suffers a stroke and is taken to a hospital, where she recovers over a two-year period. The play presents both her internal thoughts and her external […]

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Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Sherwood Anderson First published: 1919 Genre: Novel Locale: Winesburg, Ohio Plot: Psychological realism Time: Late nineteenth century George Willard, the young reporter who learns about life from confessions and observations of townspeople. The son of an insensitive man and a sensitive mother, young Willard accepts the practical help of his father but follows the […]

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The Wine of Astonishment Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Earl Lovelace First published: 1982 Genre: Novel Locale: Bonasse, a village in Trinidad Plot: Social realism Time: The 1930’s to 1951, with flashbacks to 1917 Bee, a Spiritual Baptist preacher and a farmer. A dedicated, conscientious, and responsible leader, he struggles for years to keep his church alive despite a law prohibiting his sect’s […]

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Windsor Castle Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: William Harrison Ainsworth First published: 1843 Genre: Novel Locale: England Plot: Historical Time: Sixteenth century Henry VIII, the king of England, married to Catherine and later to Anne. After Anne’s execution, he is free to marry again. True to history, Henry is presented as a combination of both good and evil. Catherine of Aragon […]

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The Winds of War Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Herman Wouk First published: 1971 Genre: Novel Locale: Washington, D.C., and major sites of World War II Plot: Historical Time: 1938–1941 Victor “Pug” Henry, a career U.S. Navy officer. A short, physically fit man in his late forties, slightly graying, Henry has aspirations of becoming an admiral, perhaps even chief of naval operations. He […]

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Windows on the World Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Frédéric Beigbeder First published: 2003 Genre: Novel Locale: Manhattan, New York City; Paris, France Plot: Historical fiction Time: September 11, 2001; September 2002 Carthew Yorston, a forty-three-year-old real estate agent from Texas who has taken his two young sons, Jerry and David, to breakfast at the Windows on the World restaurant atop the North […]

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The Wind: Attempted Restoration of a Baroque Altarpiece Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Claude Simon First published: Le Vent: Tentative de restitution d’un retable baroque, 1957 (English translation, 1959) Genre: Novel Locale: A small town in southern France Plot: Antistory Time: The 1950’s Antoine Montès (ahn-TWAHN mohn-TEHZ), age thirty-five, who arrives in a small town to take possession of a vineyard inherited from a father whom he […]

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Wind, Sand, and Stars Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry First published: Terre des hommes, 1939 (English translation, 1939) Genre: Novel Locale: The Pyrenees, the Sahara, and the Andes Plot: Autobiographical Time: 1926–1936 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (sahn-tayg-zew-pay-ree), a French pioneer of early aviation. Beginning in 1926, when he began to fly the mails across the Pyrenees, the author had many adventures. […]

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The Wind in the Willows Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Kenneth Grahame First published: 1908; illustrated Genre: Novel Locale: England Plot: Allegory Time: Early twentieth century Mole, an introvert. He is introduced to the world about him by Water Rat, who takes him on various excursions and becomes his friend. Mole learns to swim, to row, and to find the meaning of the wind […]

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The Wind from the Plain Trilogy Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Yashar Kemal First published: Ortadirek, 1960 (The Wind from the Plain, 1963); Yer demir, gok bakir, 1963 (Iron Earth, Copper Sky, 1974); Olmez otu, 1968 (The Undying Grass, 1977) Genre: Novel Locale: Turkey Plot: Social realism Time: The 1950’s or early 1960’s Halil Tayürek, called Old Halil, a village elder, born in 1884. He […]

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Wind from an Enemy Sky Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: D’Arcy McNickle First published: Ortadirek, 1960 (The Wind from the Plain, 1963); Yer demir, gok bakir, 1963 (Iron Earth, Copper Sky, 1974); Olmez otu, 1968 (The Undying Grass, 1977) Genre: Novel Locale: The northwestern United States Plot: Historical realism Time: First half of the twentieth century Bull, the chief of the fictional Little Elk […]

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William Tell Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Friedrich Schiller First published: 1804 as Wilhelm Tell (English translation, 1841) Genre: Drama Locale: Switzerland Plot: Historical Time: Fifteenth century William (Wilhelm) Tell, a renowned hunter of the Canton of Uri. Tell, a pacifist, avenges the oppression of the Swiss people by slaying the ruthless governor, the representative of the emperor of Austria. Tell’s […]

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Wilhelm Meister’s Travels Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe First published: Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre: Oder, Die Entsagenden, 1821, 1829 (English translation, 1882) Genre: Novel Locale: Germany Plot: Philosophical Time: Early nineteenth century Wilhelm Meister (VIHL-hehlm MIS-tur), a philosophical gentleman who, upon becoming a Renunciant, has pledged to wander the earth, never stopping any one place for more than three […]

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Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe First published: Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, 1795–1796 (English translation, 1824) Genre: Novel Locale: Germany Plot: Bildungsroman Time: Eighteenth century Wilhelm Meister (VIHL-hehlm MIS-tur), the novel’s hero, who provides continuity to an otherwise long series of vignettes. He is the son of a wealthy merchant who cannot understand his son’s fascination for […]

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Wild Seed Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Octavia E. Butler First published: 1980 Genre: Novel Locale: West Africa, New England, and Louisiana Plot: Fantasy Time: 1690–1840 Anyanwu, an immortal shape-shifter and healer, the novel’s protagonist. By manipulating her physical form, An-yanwu can change her gender, race, and species. She begins the novel in Africa in the guise of an elderly woman […]

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The Wild Palms Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: William Faulkner First published: 1939 Genre: Novel Locale: The United States Plot: Tragicomedy Time: 1927 and 1937 Harry Wilbourne, a twenty-seven-year-old intern working in a New Orleans hospital. He meets and falls in love with Charlotte Rittenmeyer, a local socialite and would-be artist. Harry has humble antecedents and has made his way through medical […]

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The Wild Geese Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Mori Ogai First published: Gan, 1911–1913 (English translation, 1959) Genre: Novel Locale: Tokyo, Japan Plot: Psychological realism Time: 1880 Okada, a medical student at Tokyo University, a young man who lives a life of balance and order. He is a good but not outstanding student and a solid athlete who is a member of […]

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The Wild Duck Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Henrik Ibsen First published: Vildanden, 1884 (English translation, 1891) Genre: Drama Locale: Norway Plot: Social realism Time: Nineteenth century Hjalmar Ekdal, a photographer. After his father’s imprisonment for making and using a false map to fell timber on government land, his father’s former partner, Werle, a businessman, set Hjalmar up as a photographer. He […]

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The Wild Ass’s Skin Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Honoré de Balzac First published: La Peau de chagrin, 1831 (English translation, 1896) Genre: Novel Locale: Paris, France Plot: Allegory Time: Early nineteenth century Raphael de Valentin (rah-fa-EHL deh vah-lehn-TAN), a reckless young man who learns that one must pay for everything in life. A poor, struggling law student and writer, he finds a […]

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Wife Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Bharati Mukherjee First published: 1975 Genre: Novel Locale: Calcutta, India; and Queens and Manhattan, New York Plot: Psychological realism Time: The 1950’s to the 1970’s Dimple Dasgupta, the female protagonist, an ordinary woman from the urban Bengali middle class. She attends Calcutta University, hoping that a college degree will enhance her prospects for finding […]

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Wielopole/Wielopole: An Exercise in Theatre Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Tadeusz Kantor First published: 1984, Wielopole, Wielopole (English translation, 1990) Genre: Play Locale: Poland Plot: Psychological Time: Sometime after World War II, with flashbacks to World War I Uncle Karol and Uncle Olek, two of the author’s maternal uncles. They are inseparable to the point that one will not go anywhere without the other. […]

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Wieland: Or, The Transformation, an American Tale Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Charles Brockden Brown First published: 1798 Genre: Novel Locale: Pennsylvania Plot: Gothic Time: Eighteenth century Mr. Wieland, a religious fanatic. He fears a dreadful punishment because he has not answered a “call” to become a missionary. He dies by what seems to be spontaneous combustion: His clothes suddenly burst into flames one night as […]

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The Widower’s Son Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Alan Sillitoe First published: 1976 Genre: Novel Locale: Ashfield and elsewhere in England and Europe Plot: Psychological realism Time: The early twentieth century to 1976 Colonel William Scorton, the protagonist, a gunner during World War II. A straight-backed career soldier, he is rugged, tall, and authoritative. He is also very self-disciplined and organized, but […]

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Wide Sargasso Sea Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Jean Rhys First published: 1966 Genre: Novel Locale: Jamaica, Dominica, and England Plot: Domestic realism Time: The 1830’s Antoinette Cosway, later Bertha Mason Rochester, whose story constitutes a revisionist treatment of events culminating in her transformation into the famed madwoman in the attic, Bertha Mason Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847). Antoinette, the […]

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Wickford Point Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John P. Marquand First published: 1939 Genre: Novel Locale: New York and Wickford Point Plot: Social satire Time: Twentieth century Jim Calder, the narrator, a writer of popular magazine fiction. Observant, ironic, and critical, he is magnetically drawn to Wickford Point by family relationships, early experiences, and pleasant recollections, but he is equally repelled […]

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Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Edward Albee First published: 1962 Genre: Drama Locale: New Carthage, a small New England college town Plot: Absurdist Time: Mid-twentieth century Martha, a middle-aged faculty wife and daughter of the president of a small New England college. Martha is loud, aggressive, and vulgar, secure that her father’s position at the college will insulate her […]

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Who Has Seen the Wind Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: W. O. Mitchell First published: 1947 Genre: Novel Locale: A small town in the prairies of Saskatchewan Plot: Bildungsroman Time: 1929–1937, during the Depression Brian Sean MacMurray O’Connal, who ages from four to eleven during the course of the story. A slight, lean, dark “black Scotch” boy, Brian is imaginative and always inquisitive about […]

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White Oleander Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Janet Elizabeth Fitch First published: 1999 Genre: Novel Locale: California Plot: Bildungsroman Time: 1990s Astrid Magnussen, a young, pale girl living in Los Angeles, California. Intensely devoted to her free-spirited mother, Ingrid, Astrid is at first ecstatic when Ingrid develops an ongoing relationship with Barry Kolker, as opposed to the one-night stands in which […]

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White Noise Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Don DeLillo First published: 1985 Genre: Novel Locale: Blacksmith, a fictional American college town Plot: Philosophical realism Time: The 1980’s Jack A. K. Gladney, the narrator. Fifty years old, Jack enjoys his academic success as founder and chair of the unique Hitler studies department at the College on the Hill in Blacksmith, a pastoral […]

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White-Jacket: Or, The World in a Man-of-War Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Herman Melville First published: 1850 Genre: Novel Locale: A vessel of the U.S. Navy Plot: Adventure Time: The 1840’s White-Jacket, a common seaman aboard the United States frigate Neversink on a voyage from the Pacific around Cape Horn to the eastern seaboard. White-Jacket gets his name aboard the ship when he sews for himself […]

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The White Devil Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Webster First published: 1612 Genre: Drama Locale: Rome and Padua, Italy Plot: Tragedy Time: Sixteenth century Vittoria Corombona (veet-TOH-ree-ah koh-rohm-BOHnah), the brilliant and beautiful wife of an elderly Florentine official. She becomes the mistress and later the bride of Paulo Giordano Ursini, the Duke of Brachiano. She is a woman of tremendous courage […]

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The White Company Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle First published: 1891 Genre: Novel Locale: England, France, and Spain Plot: Historical Time: Fourteenth century Sir Nigel Loring, an English nobleman. Although he is soft-spoken and slight of build, with squinting eyes, he is a brave man. He leads the White Company of English bowmen. He is captured by the Moors […]

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White Butterfly Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Walter Mosley First published: 1992 Genre: Novel Locale: Los Angeles, California Plot: Detective and mystery Time: 1956 Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, (ee-ZEE-kee-ehl), an African American detective. He finds himself drawn into the investigation of a number of brutal murders of black women at the request of the Los Angeles police department, because he can go […]

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Where the Air Is Clear Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Carlos Fuentes First published: La región más transparente, 1958 (English translation, 1960) Genre: Novel Locale: Mexico City, Mexico Plot: Allegory Time: 1910–1954 Federico Robles (feh-deh-REE-koh RROH-blehs), a wealthy and powerful business tycoon. Robles is born to peons working on the Ovando hacienda but has the opportunity to go to Morelia with a priest to […]

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Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone? Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Terrence McNally First published: 1972 Genre: Play Locale: New York City Plot: Social satire Time: 1971 Tommy Flowers, a thirty-year-old dropout from St. Petersburg who has become a self-proclaimed urban revolutionary in New York City. Like his idols James Dean and Holden Caulfield, he sees himself as an outsider, defiant in the face of […]

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Where Angels Fear to Tread Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: E. M. Forster First published: 1905 Genre: Novel Locale: England and Italy Plot: Social realism Time: Early twentieth century Lilia Herriton, a young English widow. Unhappy in her life with her late husband’s family, she goes to Italy with Caroline Abbott. There she marries Gino Carella, but her life is unhappy. She dies giving […]

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When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder? Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Mark Medoff First published: 1974 Genre: Play Locale: Southern New Mexico Plot: Social criticism Time: The late 1960’s Stephen “Red” Ryder, the graveyard clerk at a restaurant. A small, plain, nineteen-year-old man with brown hair, Stephen dresses in the style of the 1950’s and has a tattoo on his arm that reads “Born Dead.” […]

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When We Dead Awaken Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Henrik Ibsen First published: Naar vi døde vaagner, 1899 Genre: Drama Locale: A coastal town of Norway Plot: Psychological symbolism Time: Nineteenth century Arnold Rubek, a sculptor. At a mountain resort on the coast of Norway, Rubek and Maia, his wife, see Irene. In his youth, Rubek had found in Irene the perfect model, […]

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When the Mountain Fell Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz First published: Derborence, 1934 (English translation, 1947) Genre: Novel Locale: Switzerland Plot: Regional Time: Eighteenth century Séraphin Carrupt (say-rah-FAN kah-REWPT), an elderly Swiss shepherd. He is killed when an avalanche slides at night onto the mountain pasture where he is keeping his cattle. Antoine Pont (ahn-TWAHN pohn), a young, newly married Swiss […]

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When I Whistle Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Shsaku End First published: Kuchibue o fuku toki, 1974 (English translation, 1979) Genre: Novel Locale: Japan Plot: Social realism Time: The 1960’s Ozu, an aging Japanese businessman entering his senior years. Ozu is a humble clerk, preoccupied with memories of his youth and greatly troubled by his increasing fear of the different moral vision […]

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Wheat That Springeth Green Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: J. F. Powers First published: 1988 Genre: Novel Locale: The American Midwest Plot: Philosophical realism Time: The 1940’s to the 1980’s Joe Hackett, a Roman Catholic priest. Always at odds with the status quo, Joe has some sexual adventures in his teens but eventually opts for priesthood and celibacy. In his seminary days, Joe […]

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What’s Bred in the Bone Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Robertson Davies First published: 1985 Genre: Psychological romance Locale: Primarily Canada, England, and Germany Plot: Psychological Time: The mid-1980’s in the framing fiction; from the mid-nineteenth century to 1981 in the internal fiction Francis Chegwidden Cornish, a Canadian art expert. The novel purports to tell what has been “bred in the bone” of Francis. […]

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What Price Glory? Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Authors: Laurence Stallings and Maxwell Anderson First published: 1926, in Three American Plays Genre: Play Locale: The French countryside Plot: Realism Time: World War I First Sergeant Quirt, the company’s senior noncommissioned officer (NCO). He was Flagg’s senior NCO in China when the captain was enlisted, and they had a disagreement over a woman that […]

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What the Butler Saw Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Joe Orton First published: 1969 Genre: Play Locale: A psychiatric clinic in England Plot: Farce Time: The 1960’s Dr. Prentice, a middle-aged psychiatrist. Prentice is an unscrupulous man who does not hesitate to use his position as a doctor to seduce Geraldine Barclay, who is applying for a job as his secretary. He also […]

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What Maisie Knew Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Henry James First published: 1897 Genre: Novel Locale: London, Folkestone, and Boulogne Plot: Psychological realism Time: The 1890’s Maisie Farange, the neglected daughter of divorced and irresponsible parents. Shuttled back and forth between her father and mother, Maisie at first lacks moral perception, although she herself is incorruptibly innocent. Then, under the tutelage of […]

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What I’m Going to Do, I Think Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Larry Woiwode First published: 1969 Genre: Novel Locale: Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Pyramid Bluffs, Michigan; and Chicago, Illinois Plot: Psychological realism Time: 1964 Christofer (Chris) Van Eenanam, a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Chicago. At the age of twenty-three, he is still deeply unsure of his identity. His inability to resolve […]

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What Every Woman Knows Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: James Barrie First published: 1918 Genre: Drama Locale: Scotland and England Plot: Social satire Time: Early twentieth century Maggie Wylie, a wife who knows well what every woman should know—that a wife is the moving force behind any successful husband. At twenty-seven years of age, she is the plain, unmarried sister of David and […]

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What a Beautiful Sunday! Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Jorge Semprun First published: Quel beau dimanche, 1980 (English translation, 1982) Genre: Novel Locale: The Buchenwald death camp Plot: Social morality Time: World War II Gerard Sorel, the narrator, also known as Sanchez, Camille Salagnac, Rafael Artigas, Rafael Bustamante, Larrea, Ramon Barreto, and other pseudonyms. He is a Spaniard and Communist Party member who […]

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Westward Ho! Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Charles Kingsley First published: 1855 Genre: Novel Locale: England and South America Plot: Historical Time: Sixteenth century Amyas Leigh, a handsome blond giant, a hardy adventurer who accompanies Francis Drake around the world and Walter Raleigh to Ireland and who valiantly engages the Spanish in the Old World and the New. Struck blind by […]

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The Well Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Elizabeth Jolley First published: 1986 Genre: Novel Locale: Western Australia Plot: Psychological realism Time: The early 1980’s Hester Harper, an Australian rancher. A thin, flat-breasted, middle-aged woman with a lame leg, she is aware of having been a disappointment to her father, with whom she lives, because she was a girl, and an ugly, […]

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The Well of Loneliness Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Radclyffe Hall First published: 1928 Genre: Novel Locale: England and France Plot: Social realism Time: World War I Stephen Gordon, the protagonist. The only daughter of English gentry, Stephen is baptized Stephen Mary Olivia Gertrude but is called Stephen because her father desperately wanted a son. As a child, she loathes dresses, preferring to […]

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Weeds Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Edith Summers Kelley First published: 1923 Genre: Novel Locale: Rural Kentucky Plot: Naturalism Time: The early twentieth century Judith Pippinger Blackford, the daughter of a Kentucky sharecropper who becomes another sharecropper’s wife. The story begins when she is a little girl. She is a diamond in the rough, a child who stands out—because of […]

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The Wedding Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Mary Helen Ponce First published: 1989 Genre: Novel Locale: Taconos, a fictional town in Southern California Plot: Social realism Time: The 1950’s Blanca Muñoz (BLAHN-kah muhn-YOHZ), a young Mexican American woman who plans her wedding. She is originally determined to stay away from pachucos, tough young Latino men, but when she becomes interested in […]

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The Web and the Rock Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Thomas Wolfe First published: 1939 Genre: Novel Locale: North Carolina, New York, and Europe Plot: Impressionistic realism Time: 1900–1928 George Webber, a lonely child reared by a family-proud aunt and uncle in the small city of Libya Hill, North Carolina. His childhood is the bleak existence of a youngster taken up by charity. As […]

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The Weavers Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Gerhart Hauptmann First published: 1892 Genre: Drama Locale: Germany Plot: Social criticism Time: The 1840’s Herr Dreissiger (DRI-sih-gehr), a manufacturer who works his weavers for all he can, paying them as little as he can, though he does not think he is a bad man. When the weavers riot, he tries to stand up […]

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The Weather in the Streets Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Rosamond Lehmann First published: 1936 Genre: Novel Locale: London, the British countryside, and Austria Plot: Psychological realism Time: The early 1930’s Olivia Curtis, a twenty-seven-year-old woman separated from her husband, Ivor Craig. Olivia leads an impoverished semi-bohemian life in London, where she shares a small house with her flighty cousin Etty Somers and works […]

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We Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Yevgeny Zamyatin First published: My, written, 1920–1921; corrupt text, 1927; complete text, 1952; first published in the Soviet Union as My, 1989 (English translation, 1924) Genre: Novel Locale: A city-state known as the One State Plot: Fantasy Time: The thirty-second century D-503, the narrator and the protagonist, a mathematician and builder of the spaceship […]

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The Way West Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: A. B. Guthrie, Jr. First published: 1949 Genre: Novel Locale: Independence, Missouri, and the overland trail to Oregon Plot: Historical realism Time: 1845 Lije Evans, the thirty-five-year-old captain of a wagon train. A strong, large man with an easygoing manner, he goes west because of his strong conviction that Oregon should become part of […]

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The Way We Live Now Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Anthony Trollope First published: 1874–1875, serial; 1875, book Genre: Novel Locale: London and Suffolk, England Plot: Social realism Time: February to August, 1873 Lady Carbury, a aspiring writer trying to arrange favorable reviews for her book Criminal Queens. Since the death of her abusive husband, she has sought literary fame and friends for herself, […]

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The Way of the World Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: William Congreve First published: 1700 Genre: Drama Locale: London, England Plot: Comedy of manners Time: Seventeenth century Mirabell, a man of fashion, intelligent and authentically in love with Mrs. Millamant. He enjoys the favors, either overt or covert, of most of the women in the play, who, either through unrequited love of him or […]

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The Waves Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Virginia Woolf First published: 1931 Genre: Novel Locale: England Plot: Psychological realism Time: Late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Percival, a childhood friend of the six central characters, who respect, admire, and love him. He is the symbol of the ordinary man, a conventional figure. Rather awkward and bumbling but pleasant and accepted everywhere, […]

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The Way of All Flesh Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Samuel Butler First published: 1903 Genre: Novel Locale: England Plot: Social realism Time: Nineteenth century Edward Overton, the narrator. Born in the same year as Theobald Pontifex and in the village whence the Pontifexes sprang, he has known the family all his life. He has an intense dislike for Theobald but greatly admires Alethea […]

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The Wave Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Evelyn Scott First published: 1929 Genre: Novel Locale: The United States, Portugal, and Germany Plot: Historical Time: April 11, 1861, to May 24, 1865 Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America, a man small enough in stature to belie the authority invested in him and capable of seeing more with his […]

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Waverley: Or, ‘Tis Sixty Years Since Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Sir Walter Scott First published: 1814 Genre: Novel Locale: England and Scotland Plot: Historical Time: 1745 Edward Waverley, a young British officer who holds his commission in the army of George II of England during the bloody days in 1745 when Charles Edward, the Pretender, is trying to gain the British throne. Through a […]

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Watt Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Samuel Beckett First published: 1953 Genre: Novel Locale: Ireland’s countryside Plot: Absurdist Time: Probably between the two world wars Watt “Christian name forgotten”), a servant in the Irish country house of Mr. Knott and subsequently an inmate of a mental institution. He is a “big bony shabby seedy knockkneed” man with a big red […]

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Watership Down Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Richard Adams First published: 1972; illustrated with maps Genre: Novel Locale: The countryside of southern England Plot: Fantasy Time: The 1970’s Hazel, one of the rabbits forced to leave Cowslip Warren when it is destroyed by encroaching civilization. He is a young buck rabbit who eventually matures into a wise leader of his warren […]

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The Waters of Kronos Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Conrad Richter First published: 1960 Genre: Novel Locale: Unionville, Pennsylvania Plot: Allegory Time: 1960’s and the past John Donner, a prolific author who has written a book about his hometown of Unionville, which is now under the water of Lake Kronos. Donner returns to visit the relocated graveyards holding the bodies of his family: […]

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Waterland Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Graham Swift First published: 1983 Genre: Novel Locale: Greenwich, England, and the Fenlands of Norfolk Plot: Novel of ideas Time: The 1970’s, with flashbacks to the eighteenth, nineteenth, and earlier twentieth centuries Tom Crick, a history teacher at a private secondary school in Greenwich, England, the spot where time can be said to begin. […]

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The Waterfalls of Slunj Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Heimito von Doderer First published: Die Wasserfalle von Slunj, 1963 (English translation, 1966) Genre: Novel Locale: Vienna and environs Plot: Historical realism Time: The 1870’s to 1910 Robert Clayton, an engineer and the industrialist director of the Vienna branch of the British firm of Clayton Powers, Ltd. At the age of twenty-eight, in 1877, […]

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The Waterfall Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Margaret Drabble First published: 1969 Genre: Novel Locale: London and Yorkshire, England Plot: Psychological realism Time: The 1960’s Jane Gray, the narrator, twenty-eight years old, the wife of Malcolm, mother of Laurie and Bianca, cousin of Lucy, and lover of James. She is a published poet and tells her own story. To evoke the […]

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The Water Hen: A Spherical Tragedy in Three Acts Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Stanisaw Ignacy Witkiewicz First published: Kurka Wodna, 1962 (English translation, 1968, in The Madman and the Nun, and Other Plays) Genre: Play Locale: Unspecified Plot: Absurdist Time: Unspecified The Father, Albert Valpor (or Walpor in some texts), a retired skipper of a merchant ship. He is an unflappable pessimist who does not believe that […]

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The Watchmaker of Everton Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Georges Simenon First published: L’Horloger d’Everton, 1954 (English translation, 1955) Genre: Novel Locale: Everton and elsewhere in New York State, and various locations in the East and Midwest Plot: Psychological realism Time: The mid-1950’s Dave Galloway, a watchmaker and repairer with his own small shop in Everton, New York. He is the novel’s center […]

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Water for Elephants Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Sara Gruen First published: 2006 Genre: Novel Locale: Norwich, New York; Ithaca, New York; Utica, New York; Joliet, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois; Terre Haute, Indiana; Dayton, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut Plot: Adventure; romance Time: 1931 and 2001 Jacob Jankowski, a retired veterinarian. Ninety-three years old in 2001, Jacob, though withered and frail, is otherwise […]

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The Watch That Ends the Night Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Hugh MacLennan First published: 1959 Genre: Novel Locale: Canada, Spain, Leningrad, Germany, and China Plot: Social morality Time: The 1950’s, with flashbacks to earlier in the twentieth century George Stewart, the self-effacing narrator, a part-time university lecturer and radio journalist, Catherine’s husband and Sally’s stepfather. George has known and loved the delicate Catherine since […]

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Watch on the Rhine Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Lillian Hellman First published: 1941 Genre: Play Locale: Near Washington, D.C. Plot: Melodrama Time: 1940 Fanny Farrelly, the head of a distinguished Washington family. She eagerly awaits the return of her daughter, Sara, who has spent many years abroad with her German husband, rearing a family and helping him in his anti-Fascist efforts. Fanny […]

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The Wasps Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Aristophanes Genre: Drama Locale: Athens Plot: Satire Time: Fifth century b.c.e. Philocleon (fih-loh-klee-on), an elderly Athenian citizen and a dicast, one of the six thousand jurors of the Athenian courts. He is completely obsessed with judging and litigation, and to sit in court day after day is the greatest joy he can imagine. He […]

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Washington Square Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Henry James First published: 1880 Genre: Novel Locale: New York City Plot: Psychological realism Time: Mid-nineteenth century Catherine Sloper, an heiress who remains steadfast to her ideal of loyalty. Irreparably harmed by the harshness of her father and the coldness of a calculating suitor, Catherine reestablishes her life to fill the void of love […]

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The Wartime Trilogy Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Louis-Ferdinand Céline First published: D’un chateau l’autre, 1957 (Castle to Castle, 1968); Nord, 1960 (North, 1972); Rigodon, 1969 (Rigadoon, 1974) Genre: Novels Locale: France, Germany, and Denmark Plot: Biographical Time: 1944–1945 and 1957–1961 Louis-Ferdinand Céline (lwee-fehr-dee-NAHN sayLEEN), the narrator in all three novels; in this one, he focuses on his first adventures as he […]

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The Wars Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Timothy Findley First published: 1977 Genre: Novel Locale: Canada, France, and England Plot: Neorealism Time: 1915–1922, the 1970’s Robert Ross, a second lieutenant in the Canadian Field Artillery during 1916 and 1917. As a boy, he feels somewhat distanced from his parents; consequently, he devotes himself to his congenitally deformed sister, developing very early […]

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The Warden Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Anthony Trollope First published: 1855 Genre: Novel Locale: London and Barchester, England Plot: Social realism Time: Mid-nineteenth century The Reverend Septimus Harding, a kind and gentle man who had been a minor canon near Barchester for many years. At the age of fifty, he had become precentor of Barchester Cathedral, a position that included […]

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War Trash Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Ha Jin First published: 2004 Genre: Novel Locale: China; North Korea; Koje Island, South Korea; Cheju Island, South Korea; Pusan, South Korea Plot: Historical fiction Time: 1951–54 Yu Yuan, a young Chinese military officer in the 180th Division of the People’s Liberation Army. He is sent with his unit to Korea in 1951 to […]

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The War of the Worlds Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: H. G. Wells First published: 1897, serial; 1898, book Genre: Novel Locale: Woking and London, England Plot: Science fiction Time: Late nineteenth century The narrator, a man of intellectual curiosity who is interested in observing Mars through a telescope. One day, he sees harmless-appearing creatures emerging from a projectile fallen to Earth. The Martians, […]

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The War of the End of the World Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Mario Vargas Llosa First published: La guerra del fin del mundo, 1981 (English translation, 1984) Genre: Novel Locale: Brazil, primarily the backlands Plot: Historical Time: The late 1890’s The Counselor, whose name is Antônio Conselheiro, a tall, thin, and bearded man with fiery eyes, of mysterious identity and origins. He proclaims that he has […]

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The War Between the Tates Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Alison Lurie First published: 1974 Genre: Novel Locale: Upstate New York and New York City Plot: Social satire Time: 1969–1970 Brian Tate, a political science professor at Corinth University in upstate New York, born into a long line of social achievers. Forty-six-year-old Brian is a dissatisfied and disappointed man. Because it is clear that […]

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War and Remembrance Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Herman Wouk First published: 1978 Genre: Novel Locale: Sites of action in World War II Plot: Historical Time: 1941–1945 Victor “Pug” Henry, a career naval officer serving as a captain at the outbreak of World War II. Deprived of a battleship command when the Japanese sink his ship at Pearl Harbor, Henry commands the […]

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War and Peace Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Leo Tolstoy First published: Voyna i mir, 1865–1869 (English translation, 1886) Genre: Novel Locale: Russia Plot: Historical Time: 1805–1813 Pierre Bezuhov (pyehr beh-ZOO-khof), the illegitimate son of wealthy Count Cyril Bezuhov. Clumsy, stout, and uncommonly tall, he is at first spurned by the social set; later, after his father leaves him a fortune, he […]

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The Wapshot Scandal Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Cheever First published: 1964 Genre: Novel Locale: St. Botolphs, Massachusetts; Proxmire Manor, a Westchester suburb; and Talifer, site of a missile research base Plot: Social satire Time: Early 1960’s Coverly Wapshot, who is younger and seemingly less agreeable and promising than his brother Moses. He is also “a model of provincial virtues” and […]

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The Wapshot Chronicle Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Cheever First published: 1957 Genre: Novel Locale: St. Botolphs, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; and New York City Plot: Family Time: The 1890’s to the 1950’s Moses Wapshot, the handsome, promising elder son of Leander and Sarah Wapshot. His quasi-idyllic life in St. Botolphs, a formerly prosperous Massachusetts river town, comes to an abrupt end […]

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The Wandering Scholar from Paradise Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Hans Sachs First published: Der fahrende Schüler im Paradies, 1880 (English translation, 1910) Genre: Drama Locale: Nuremberg, Germany Plot: Farce Time: Sixteenth century The Wandering Scholar, a witty, unscrupulous student from Paris. Taking advantage of the mistake of a simpleminded widow, who misunderstands his origin as “Paradise” instead of “Paris,” he plays on her […]

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The Wandering Jew Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Eugène Sue First published: Le Juif errant, 1844–1845 (English translation, 1868) Genre: Novel Locale: France Plot: Melodrama Time: 1831–1832 Samuel (sah-mew-EHL), the Wandering Jew, who is condemned to wander undying through the centuries after he mocks Christ on the day of the Crucifixion. He invested for a friend a small sum of money, now […]

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The Wanderers Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Ezekiel Mphahlele First published: 1971 Genre: Social chronicle Locale: South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya Plot: Social realism Time: From the late 1950’s to the 1960’s Timi Tabane (TEE-mee tah-BAH-nay), a black South African journalist who becomes an exile. Tabane, sensitive and idealistic, lives in the slums of Tirong, a black township in South Africa, […]

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The Wanderer Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Alain-Fournier First published: Le Grand Meaulnes, 1913 (English translation, 1928) Genre: Novel Locale: France Plot: Psychological Time: Nineteenth century Augustin Meaulnes (oh-gews-TAN MOHL-neh), a romantic, dreamily adventurous new boy at Sainte-Agathe’s School who magnetically draws the other children to him. After leaving Sainte-Agathe’s, he lives in Paris with Valentine, whom he angrily leaves after […]

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Wallenstein Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Friedrich Schiller First published: 1800 (as trilogy; The Camp of Wallenstein Camp, 1846; The Piccolominis, 1800, Death of Wallenstein, 1800) Genre: Drama Locale: Germany Plot: Historical Time: The Thirty Years’ War Albrecht Wallenstein (ahl-brehkht VAHL-ehn-shtin), the Duke of Friedland and the general of Emperor Ferdinand’s forces in the Thirty Years’ War. His experience follows […]

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The Wall Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: John Hersey First published: 1950 Genre: Novel Locale: Warsaw, primarily the ghetto sector Plot: Historical Time: November, 1939, to May, 1943 Noach Levinson, a ghetto archivist and historian, the “re-corder” of the events of the novel. A small man in his early forties, Levinson is a messy-haired, intense intellectual whose face is dominated by […]

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The Wall Jumper Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Peter Schneider First published: Der Mauerspringer, 1982 (English translation, 1983) Genre: Novel Locale: West Berlin and East Berlin Plot: Social realism Time: The 1980’s The narrator, an author who has lived in West Berlin for the last twenty years. Fascinated by the divisions and similarities between the two Berlins, he decides to write about […]

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A Walk on the Wild Side Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Nelson Algren First published: 1956 Genre: Novel Locale: Texas and New Orleans Plot: Picaresque Time: The early 1930’s Dove Linkhorn, a red-haired, six-foot illiterate from Arroyo, Texas. After a brief affair with Terasina Vidavarri, he rides a freight train to seek his fortune in New Orleans. Convinced that anything can happen to someone who […]

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Walk Me to the Distance Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Percival L. Everett First published: 1985 Genre: Novel Locale: Savannah, Georgia, and Slut’s Hole, Wyoming Plot: Bildungsroman Time: The Vietnam War era David Larson, the protagonist, an aimless young Vietnam veteran in search of a purpose in life. Leaving his native South, he settles in Wyoming, where he discovers a sense of place and […]

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A Walk in the Night Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Alex La Guma First published: 1962 Genre: Novel Locale: District Six, a slum in Cape Town, South Africa Plot: Social realism Time: The 1950’s Michael Adonis, a man of mixed race; in South African racial terminology, he is “coloured.” In segregated Cape Town, he must live in the notorious District Six. He works irregularly […]

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Waiting to Exhale Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Terry McMillan First published: 1992 Genre: Novel Locale: Phoenix, Arizona, and Denver, Colorado Plot: Social realism Time: 1990 Bernadine Harris, one of the four protagonists. She is thirty-six years old, black, and college educated. After a marriage of eleven years, her husband, John, leaves her for his white, twenty-four-year-old secretary. John tries to steal […]

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Waiting for Godot Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Samuel Beckett First published: En attendant Godot, 1952 (English translation, 1954) Genre: Drama Locale: A country road Plot: Absurdist Time: The present Vladimir (vla-dee-MEER), also called Didi (dee-DEE), and Estragon (ehs-tra-GOHN), also called Gogo (goh-GOH), two tramps. In this play, action is unimportant; the characters remain undeveloped as they wait impatiently for Godot, who […]

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