Characters Summaries

Aunt Dan and Lemon Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: 1985, at the Royal Court Theatre, London First published: 1985 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Play of ideas Time of work: The 1950’s to the 1980’s Locale: London and Oxford, England Characters Discussed Leonora Leonora, Aunt Dan and Lemoncalled Lemon, Susie and Jack’s daughter. A sickly young woman living alone in […]

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August 1914 Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Avgust chetyrnadtsatogo, 1971; expanded version, 1983 (English translation, 1972; expanded English translation, 1989, as The Red Wheel) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Historical realism Time of work: August, 1914 Locale: Russia Characters Discussed Alexander Vasilich Samsonov Alexander August 1914Vasilich Samsonov (vah-SEE-lihch sahm-SOH-nov), a fifty-five-year-old general in the cavalry. After a number […]

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Aucassin and Nicolette Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Aucassin et Nicolette, early thirteenth century (English translation, 1880) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Historical realism Time of work: Twelfth century Locale: Provence, France Characters Discussed Aucassin Aucassin Aucassin and Nicolette (oh-kah-SAN), the son of Count Garin de Beaucaire. He loves Nicolette, a slave girl bought from the Saracens by a […]

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Attachments Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1977 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Bildungsroman Time of work: The 1950’s to the 1960’s Locale: Los Angeles, New York City, and Bootsville, New Hampshire Characters Discussed Nadine Nadine, Attachmentsthe protagonist and narrator. The only child of an exclusively devoted couple, Nadine feels isolated and yearns to be a Siamese twin, […]

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Atlas Shrugged Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1957 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social morality Time of work: Approximately the 1950’s Locale: Primarily New York City and the state of Colorado Characters Discussed Dagny Taggart Dagny Atlas ShruggedTaggart, the head of operations of Taggart Transcontinental, a railroad company. She is described as beautiful, but with a face that […]

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Atalanta in Calydon Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1865 Type of work: Poetry Type of plot: Tragedy Time of work: Remote antiquity Locale: Greece Characters Discussed Œneus Œneus Atalanta in Calydon (EE-news), the king of Calydon. He has neglected his sacrifice to Artemis, goddess of the hunt. The wild boar sent by Artemis into Calydon, in punishment, is the object of […]

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At Weddings and Wakes Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1992 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: The 1960’s Locale: Brooklyn and suburban Long Island Characters Discussed Robert Dailey Robert At Weddings and WakesDailey, Margaret Dailey Margaret Dailey, and Maryanne Dailey Maryanne Dailey, children who are the focus of the narration. Robert, at age twelve, is the […]

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At the Sign of the Reine Pédauque Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: La rotisserie de la reine pedauque, 1893 (English translation, 1912) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Satire Time of work: Eighteenth century Locale: France Characters Discussed Jacques Ménétrier Jacques At the Sign of the Reine PédauqueMénétrier (zhahk may-nay-tray-YAY), a carefree young scholar and lover who becomes a respectable citizen. Born of poor […]

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At Swim-Two-Birds Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1939 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Fantasy Time of work: The mid-1930’s Locale: Dublin, Ireland Characters Discussed The narrator The At Swim-Two-Birdsnarrator, unnamed, a none-too-diligent young uni-versity student in Dublin who is writing a novel about another author, Dermot Trellis. The narrator tells about his carping uncle, his fellow students, and […]

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At Play in the Fields of the Lord Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1965 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Adventure Time of work: The early 1960’s Locale: Oriente State, a fictional province in South America Characters Discussed Meriwether Lewis Moon Meriwether At Play in the Fields of the LordLewis Moon, a Cheyenne veteran of World War II, now a soldier of fortune in quest […]

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Asya Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1858 (English translation, 1877) Type of work: Novella Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: The mid-nineteenth century Locale: A small town on the Rhine in Germany Characters Discussed N. N. N. AsyaN., a middle-aged Russian country landowner who narrates the story of his unhappy love affair many years earlier. In his […]

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Astrophel and Stella Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1591 Type of work: Poetry Type of plot: Love Time of work: Sixteenth century Locale: England Characters Discussed Astrophel Astrophel, Astrophel and Stellathe young lover in whose voice the sonnets and songs are cast. Although Stella is married and he describes her as virtuous, he still pursues her, begging her to love him. […]

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L’Assommoir Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: L’Assommoir, 1877 (English translation, 1879) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Naturalism Time of work: Second half of the nineteenth century Locale: Paris, France Characters Discussed Gervaise Gervaise Assommoir, L’ (zhehr-VEHZ), a laundry worker. Deserted by her lover, Lantier, she marries Coupeau, with whom she prospers until her husband is disabled by […]

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The Assistant Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1957 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: 1930’s Locale: Brooklyn, New York Characters Discussed Frank Alpine Frank Assistant, TheAlpine, a young Italian drifter. Tall and bearded, with eyes haunted by a profound loneliness and a deep spiritual sadness, Frank wants to escape a past full of mistakes […]

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The Aspern Papers Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1888 Type of work: Short story Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: The late nineteenth century Locale: Venice, Italy Characters Discussed The narrator The Aspern Papers, Thenarrator, an unnamed, well-to-do American literary scholar. He is obsessed by a desire to learn everything possible about the life and works of the long-dead […]

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Ashes and Diamonds Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Popiół i diament, 1948 (English translation, 1962) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Political Time of work: May 5 to May 8, 1945 Locale: Ostrowiec, Poland Characters Discussed Stefan Szczuka Stefan Ashes and DiamondsSzczuka (SHCHEW-kah), the son of a tailor, trained as an engineer. He becomes a member of the Communist Party […]

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The Asiatics Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1935 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Picaresque Time of work: The 1920’s Locale: Asia, from Beirut to Hong Kong Characters Discussed The narrator The Asiatics, Thenarrator, a nameless seeker after knowledge of the world, on a pilgrimage from Beirut to Hong Kong. A twenty-two-year-old American, he is strongly built and apparently […]

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As You Like It Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: c. 1599-1600 First published: 1623 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Comedy Time of work: The Middle Ages Locale: The Forest of Arden, France Characters Discussed Rosalind Rosalind As You Like It (ROHZ-eh-lihnd), who is disguised as Ganymede (GAN-eh-meed) in the forest scenes, the daughter of the banished Duke Senior. A witty, […]

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As the Crow Flies Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1943 First produced: 1942, by the Dublin Verse-Speaking Society, over Radio éireann, Dublin Type of work: Play Type of plot: Poetic Time of work: The seventh century Locale: Near the River Shannon in western Ireland Characters Discussed Father Virgilius Father As the Crow FliesVirgilius, a middle-aged monk and guide for the younger brothers. […]

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As I Lay Dying Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1930 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: Early twentieth century Locale: Mississippi Characters Discussed Anse Bundren Anse As I Lay DyingBundren, an ignorant and poor white man. When his wife dies, he is determined to take her body to Jefferson, as he had promised, even though the […]

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As for Me and My House Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1941 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: The 1930’s, during the Great Depression Locale: Horizon, a town on the Canadian prairie Characters Discussed Mrs. Bentley Mrs. As for Me and My HouseBentley, the wife of Philip Bentley; her first name is never given. She narrates the novel […]

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As a Man Grows Older Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Senilità, 1898 (English translation, 1932) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: The 1890’s Locale: Trieste, Austria Characters Discussed Emilio Brentani Emilio As a Man Grows OlderBrentani (eh-MIHL-ih-oh brehn-TAH-nee), a clerk in an insurance office. The Italian title Senilità (senility) must refer to him but cannot be taken […]

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Arturo’s Island Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: L’isola di Arturo, 1957 (English translation, 1959) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: 1922-1939 Locale: The island of Procida, near Naples Characters Discussed Arturo Gerace Arturo Arturo’s IslandGerace (ahr-TEWR-oh geh-RAH-chay), the narrator of the tale, who tells the story of his life up to the age of […]

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The Artamonov Business Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Delo Artamonovykh, 1925 (English translation, 1927) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Family Time of work: c. 1862-1918 Locale: Russia Characters Discussed Ilia Artamonov Ilia Artamonov Business, TheArtamonov (ih-LYAH ahr-TAH-meh-nov), a dictatorial stranger who builds a factory in Dromov. His business and power continue to grow despite increased resentment against him. Peter […]

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Artamenes Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Artamène: Ou, Le grand Cyrus, 1649–1653 (English translation, 1653-1655) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Sentimental Time of work: 500 b.c.e. Locale: Asia Minor Characters Discussed Artamène Artamène, Artamenesin reality Cyrus the Great, the son of the king of Persia. Given as a child to a shepherd to be killed because of […]

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Arrowsmith Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1925 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: Early twentieth century Locale: The United States and the West Indies Characters Discussed Martin Arrowsmith Martin ArrowsmithArrowsmith, a doctor chiefly interested in bacteriological research. As a medical student, he falls under the influence of Dr. Gottlieb, who gives him an […]

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Arrow of God Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1964 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: The 1920’s Locale: Nigeria Characters Discussed Ezeulu Ezeulu Arrow of God (eh-zuh-EW-lew), a haughty, old chief priest of Ulu in the six villages, including his own Umuachala, that compose the federation of Umuaro. He sees himself and his god as […]

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Around the World in Eighty Days Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Le Tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours, 1873 (English translation, 1873) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Adventure Time of work: October 2 through December 21, 1872 Locale: A tour of the world Characters Discussed Phileas Fogg Phileas Around the World in Eighty DaysFogg (FIHL-ee-uhs), an English gentleman living in London. A […]

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Arms and the Man Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1898, in Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant First produced: 1984, at the Avenue Theatre, London Type of work: Play Type of plot: Comedy Time of work: November, 1885, to March, 1886 Locale: Bulgaria Characters Discussed Catherine Petkoff Catherine Arms and the ManPetkoff, the mother of Raina and wife of Major Petkoff. The Petkoffs are […]

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The Armies of the Night Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1968 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: New journalism Time of work: October, 1967 Locale: Washington, D.C., Virginia, and New York Characters Discussed Norman Mailer Norman Armies of the Night, TheMailer, a famous American novelist, journalist, social critic, historian, and candidate for mayor of New York City. Variously described in the third-person […]

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Argenis Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1621 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Allegory Time of work: The Hellenistic Era Locale: Europe Characters Discussed Argenis Argenis Argenis (ahr-JEE-nihs), a beautiful, resourceful priestess of Pallas Athena and the daughter of Meleander, king of Sicily; she also symbolizes the throne of France. Having met Poliarchus, a hero in the Sicilian […]

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The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: 1967, at the Theatre Montparnasse-Gaston Baty, Paris First published: L’Architecte et l’Empereur d’Assyrie, 1967, in Arrabal: Theatre panique (English translation, 1969) Type of work: Play Type of plot: Surrealism Time of work: The second half of the twentieth century Locale: A desert island Characters Discussed The Emperor The Architect and the Emperor of […]

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Arcadia Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1590; revised, 1593 as The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia; revised, 1598 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Pastoral Time of work: Classical antiquity Locale: Arcadia, Greece Characters Discussed Pyrocles Pyrocles Arcadia (PI-rohk-leez), Prince of Macedon. Journeying with his cousin Musidorus, he fights on the side of justice in many countries before he […]

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The Arbitration Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: After 304 b.c.e. (English translation, 1909) Type of work: Play Type of plot: Comedy of manners Time of work: Fourth century b.c.e. Locale: A suburb of Athens Characters Discussed Pamphila Pamphila Arbitration, The (PAM-fih-luh), Smicrines’ daughter. She is ravished by an unknown, drunken young man who leaves his signet ring at the scene. […]

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The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Alf layla wa-layla, fifteenth century (English translation, 1706-1708) Type of work: Short fiction Type of plot: Folklore Time of work: The legendary past Locale: India, China, Persia, and Arabia Characters Discussed Shahriar Shahriar, Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, TheEmperor of Persia and India. Convinced of the unfaithfulness of all women, he vows to marry a […]

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The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1959 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Bildungsroman Time of work: The late 1940’s Locale: Montreal and New York City Characters Discussed David “Duddy” Kravitz David Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, The“Duddy” Kravitz, a Montreal-born Jewish teenager and second-generation Canadian. Motherless and growing up in the shadow of his favored elder brother, Lennie, […]

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Appointment in Samarra Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1934 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Naturalism Time of work: 1930 Locale: Pennsylvania Characters Discussed Julian English Julian Appointment in SamarraEnglish, an automobile dealer who drinks too much. He picks fights with his friends and benefactors, gets publicly drunk, drives his wife to seek a divorce, and chases after a bootlegger’s […]

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The Apple of the Eye Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1924 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Regional Time of work: Twentieth century Locale: Rural Wisconsin Characters Discussed Hannah Madoc Hannah Apple of the Eye, TheMadoc, a natural, primitive young woman. Orphaned and penniless after her drunken father dies from a fall occasioned by Hannah’s pushing him off a porch in self-defense, […]

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The Apple in the Dark Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: A maçã no Escuro, 1961 (English translation, 1967) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Didactic Time of work: The late 1950’s Locale: A remote farming region of Brazil Characters Discussed Martim Martim Apple in the Dark, The (mahr-TEEM), a middle-aged statistician from São Paulo. A heavyset, blue-eyed man, he is in hiding […]

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Appalachee Red Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1978 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social morality Time of work: 1918 through 1963 Locale: Appalachee, Muskhogean County, Georgia Characters Discussed Appalachee Red Appalachee Appalachee RedRed, owner of a café and gambling house. “Red” wanders into the town of Appalachee on Thanksgiving Day, 1945, and soon captivates the town and its […]

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The Apostle Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1943 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Religious Time of work: Shortly after the Crucifixion Locale: The Roman Empire Characters Discussed Saul of Tarshish Saul Apostle, Theof Tarshish, or Tarsus, afterward known as Paul. A devout Jew but intellectually a searcher, he at first resents the Messianist followers of Yeshua, and he […]

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The Apes of God Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1930 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social satire Time of work: Spring, 1926 Locale: London, England Characters Discussed Horace Zagreus Horace Apes of God, TheZagreus, born Horace Follett, a tall albino now between sixty and sixty-four years old. He is the favorite grandnephew of Lady Fredigonde Follett. He takes up young […]

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Anywhere but Here Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1986 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Domestic realism Time of work: The 1930’s to the 1970’s Locale: Bay City, Wisconsin, to Hollywood, California Characters Discussed Ann August Ann Anywhere but HereAugust, the narrator of four sections. Ann, the daughter of Adele August, recalls moments from her youth, especially the tensions in […]

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Antony and Cleopatra Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: c. 1606-1607 First published: 1623 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Tragedy Time of work: c. 30 b.c.e. Locale: Egypt and parts of the Roman Empire Characters Discussed Mark Antony Mark Antony and CleopatraAntony, also called Marcus Antonius, the majestic ruin of a great general and political leader, a triumvir of Rome. […]

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The Antiquary Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1816 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Fiction of manners Time of work: Late eighteenth century Locale: Scotland Characters Discussed Lovel (Major Neville) Lovel Antiquary, TheMajor Neville), a wealthy young man of undetermined background who is forced to fight a duel and then go into hiding because he thinks he has mortally […]

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Antigone Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1946, in Nouvelles Pieces noires (English translation, 1946) First produced: 1944, at the Théâtre l’Atelier, Paris Type of work: Play Type of plot: Tragedy Time of work: c. 600-500 b.c.e. Locale: Thebes Characters Discussed Antigone Antigone Antigone (an-TIH-guh-nee), the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, engaged to marry Haemon, son of King Creon and […]

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Antigone Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: Antigonē, 441 b.c.e. (English translation, 1581) Type of work: Play Type of plot: Tragedy Time of work: Remote antiquity Locale: Thebes Characters Discussed Antigone Antigone Antigone (an-TIHG-eh-nee), the daughter of Oedipus and sister of both Eteocles (who defends Thebes) and Polynices (an exile from the city who attacks it). After Eteocles and Polynices […]

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Anthony Adverse Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1933 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Picaresque Time of work: Late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries Locale: Western Europe, Africa, and North America Characters Discussed Anthony Adverse Anthony Anthony AdverseAdverse, the illegitimate son of Denis Moore and Maria; grandson and heir of John Bonnyfeather, under whom he serves as an apprentice. […]

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Another Life Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Drugaya zhizn, 1975 (English translation, 1983) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: The early 1970’s Locale: Moscow, the Soviet Union Characters Discussed Olga Vasilievna Olga Another LifeVasilievna (vah-see-LYEHV-nah), a recently widowed research biologist. After the early death of her husband, Sergei Afanasievich, she reconstructs by way of […]

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Another Country Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1962 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: The 1950’s Locale: New York and France Characters Discussed Rufus Scott Rufus Another CountryScott, a jazz drummer. Handsome, talented, and black, Rufus is the pivotal character in the novel, although he commits suicide at the end of the first chapter. […]

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Anniversaries Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: Jahrestage: Aus dem Leben von Gesine Cresspahl, 1970-1983, 4 volumes (English translation, 1975; Anniversaries II, 1987) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Historical realism Time of work: 1931-1967 and August, 1967, to August, 1968 Locale: New York City; Mecklenburg, East Germany; and Richmond, England Characters Discussed Gesine Cresspahl Gesine AnniversariesCresspahl (gay-ZEE-neh KREHS-pahl), […]

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Annie John Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1985 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Bildungsroman Time of work: The mid-1950’s to the mid-1960’s Locale: Antigua, West Indies Characters Discussed Annie Victoria John Annie Annie JohnVictoria John, a smart, sensitive young black girl growing up in Antigua, in the British West Indies. Annie identifies with her mother and has a […]

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Anne of the Thousand Days Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1948 First produced: 1948, at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre, New York City Type of work: Play Type of plot: Historical Time of work: 1526-1536 Locale: England Characters Discussed Anne Boleyn Anne Anne of the Thousand DaysBoleyn, the mistress and, later, wife of King Henry VIII. She was executed in 1536. Anne is […]

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Annals of the Parish Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1821 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social Time of work: 1760-1810 Locale: Scotland Characters Discussed The Reverend Micah Balwhidder The Annals of the ParishReverend Micah Balwhidder, who is appointed to the Presbyterian church in the village of Dalmailing in western Scotland. Appointed without the approval of the congregation, he is harshly […]

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Anna of the Five Towns Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1902 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Domestic realism Time of work: Late nineteenth century Locale: The Potteries, England Characters Discussed Anna Tellwright Anna Anna of the Five TownsTellwright, a young woman who is deprived of love and money in her childhood. She inherits fifty thousand pounds from her mother’s estate upon […]

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Anna Karenina Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1875-1877 (English translation, 1886) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: Nineteenth century Locale: Russia Characters Discussed Anna Karenina Anna Anna KareninaKarenina (AH-nah kah-REH-nee-nah), Karenin’s beautiful, wayward wife. After meeting the handsome Count Vronsky, she falls completely in love with him, even though she realizes what the consequences […]

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Anna Christie Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: 1921 First published: 1923 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: Early twentieth century Locale: Johnny the Priest’s saloon, New York City, and Provincetown harbor Characters Discussed Anna Christopherson Anna Anna ChristieChristopherson, a girl abandoned by her seagoing father and, after the death of her mother, reared by […]

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Animal Farm Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1945 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Satire Time of work: The mid-twentieth century Locale: England Characters Discussed Mr. Jones Mr. Animal FarmJones, the owner of Manor Farm. After getting drunk on Midsummer’s Eve, Mr. Jones fails to return in time to feed his animals. They have been thinking about rebellion anyway, […]

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Animal Dreams Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1990 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Bildungsroman Time of work: 1980’s Locale: Grace, Arizona Characters Discussed Cosima Noline Cosima Animal DreamsNoline, the protagonist and narrator. Cosima, who goes by the nickname Codi, is in her early thirties but is still searching for her life’s work and a sense of belonging. She […]

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Anglo-Saxon Attitudes Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1956 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: The late 1950’s Locale: Primarily London and rural England Characters Discussed Gerald Middleton Gerald Anglo-Saxon AttitudesMiddleton, a retired Oxford professor of medieval history and author of the definitive study of Canute. Middleton, despite the respect of many of his peers, […]

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Angle of Repose Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1971 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Historical realism Time of work: The late 1860’s to 1970 Locale: California, the Dakotas, Colorado, Idaho, and Mexico Characters Discussed Lyman Ward Lyman Angle of ReposeWard, a retired University of California history professor and past winner of the Bancroft Prize. Lyman, in his late fifties […]

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Angels on Toast Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1940 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Satire Time of work: 1938 Locale: New York City, Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C., and rural Connecticut Characters Discussed Lou Donovan Lou Angels on ToastDonovan, one of two philandering businessmen who are the focus of the novel. The forty-one-year-old’s activities in the hotel business keep him […]

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Angels in America Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: Part 1, Millennium Approaches, 1991; part 2, Perestroika, 1992 First published: Part 1, Millennium Approaches, 1992; part 2, Perestroika, 1994 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Political Time of work: Mid-1985 to 1990 Locale: New York City Characters Discussed Prior Walter Prior Angels in AmericaWalter, a thirty-one-year-old man with AIDS. When his […]

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Angels Fall Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First produced: 1982, at the New World Festival, Miami, Florida First published: 1982 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Problem Time of work: The 1980’s Locale: New Mexico Characters Discussed Father William Doherty Father Angels FallWilliam Doherty, a sixty-five-year-old mission priest who controls his flock with wit, deception, and persistent hope to elevate their […]

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Angel Pavement Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1930 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: The late 1920’s, during the Great Depression Locale: London, England Characters Discussed James Golspie James Angel PavementGolspie, the protagonist, a canny, blunt, vulgar, persuasive con man who easily takes advantage of the naïve Howard Brompart Dersingham and brings financial ruin […]

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The Andromeda Strain Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1969 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Science fiction Time of work: 1967 Locale: Flatrock, Nevada Characters Discussed Jeremy Stone Jeremy Andromeda Strain, TheStone, a professor of bacteriology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Nobel Prize winner, a lawyer, and a federal government consultant whose paper on the possibilities […]

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Amadís of Gaul Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: Amadís de Gaula, 1508 (English translation, 1619) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Romance Time of work: First century Locale: France, England, and the rest of Europe Characters Discussed Amadís de Gaul Amadís Amadís of Gaulde Gaul (ah-mah-DEES duh gawl), the natural son of King Perion of Gaul and Elisena, daughter of […]

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Agnes Grey Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1847 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Domestic realism Time of work: Mid-nineteenth century Locale: England Characters Discussed Agnes Grey Agnes Agnes GreyGrey, the pious, sheltered daughter of a clergyman. She takes employment as a governess when her family’s financial situation becomes desperate. Richard Grey Richard Grey, Agnes’ father, a poor person […]

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The Affected Young Ladies Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: 1659 First published: Les Précieuses ridicules, 1660 (English translation, 1732) Type of work: Play Type of plot: Comedy of manners Time of work: Seventeenth century Locale: Paris, France Characters Discussed Magdelon Magdelon Affected Young Ladies, The (mahg-duh-LOH[N]) and Cathos Cathos (kah-TOH), two romantic young ladies from the country, visiting in Paris. They are […]

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Adolphe Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1816 (English translation, 1816) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: Late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries Locale: Germany and Poland Characters Discussed Adolphe Adolphe, Adolphea precocious young man, the narrator. Influenced by his constrained relationship with his father and the strong, unconventional opinions of an older woman […]

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Andromache Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: Andromachē, 426 b.c.e. (English translation, 1782) Type of work: Play Type of plot: Tragedy Time of work: About a decade after the Trojan War Locale: The temple of Thetis in Thessaly Characters Discussed Andromache Andromache Andromache (an-DRO-muh-kee), the widow of Hector, allotted at the fall of Troy as a slave to Neoptolemus, son […]

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Andromache Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: 1667 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Tragedy Time of work: Shortly after the Trojan War Locale: Epirus Characters Discussed Andromaque Andromaque Andromache (ahn-dro-MAHK), the widow of Hector, the Trojan hero, and mother of his small son Astyanax. Andromaque, now a slave of the Greek hero Pyrrhus, spurns his advances; she has […]

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Andria Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: 166 b.c.e. (English translation, 1598) Type of work: Play Type of plot: Comedy Time of work: Second century b.c.e. Locale: Athens Characters Discussed Simo Simo Andria (SIH-moh), an aged Athenian. An outspoken, philosophical man, Simo has arranged a marriage between his son Pamphilus and Philumena, the daughter of his friend Chremes. Chremes breaks […]

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Andorra Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1961 (English translation, 1963) First produced: 1961, at the Schauspielhaus, Zurich, Switzerland Type of work: Play Type of plot: Social criticism Time of work: The 1950’s Locale: Andorra, an imaginary small state Characters Discussed Andri Andri, Andorraa twenty-year-old who was brought up in Andorra (not the small European country but a “model”) in […]

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And Quiet Flows the Don Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: Tikhii Don, 1928-1940 (partial English translations, 1934 as And Quiet Flows the Don; 1940 as The Don Flows Home to the Sea; complete English translations, 1942 as The Silent Don; 1967 as And Quiet Flows the Don) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Historical realism Time of work: 1913-1918 Locale: Tatarsk, Russia […]

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The Ancient Child Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1989 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Mythic Time of work: Late 1980’s Locale: An Indian reservation in Oklahoma and San Francisco, California Characters Discussed Locke “Set” Setman Locke Ancient Child, The“Set” Setman, a forty-four-year-old artist of Kiowa descent. Orphaned when he is seven years old, he is sent to a Catholic […]

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The Anatomy Lesson Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1983 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Comic realism Time of work: 1973 Locale: Primarily New York City and Chicago, Illinois Characters Discussed Nathan Zuckerman Nathan Anatomy Lesson, TheZuckerman, the protagonist, a successful writer and author of the notorious best-selling novelCarnovsky. For eighteen months, he has been suffering inexplicably from extreme neck […]

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Anancy’s Score Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1973 Type of work: Short fiction Type of plot: Fable Time of work: Creation to the Vietnam War era Locale: West Africa and the Caribbean Characters Discussed Anancy Anancy, Anancy’s Scorea “spider individual person” who respects no one, human or beast. Much like his African-Caribbean counterpart, Anancy is a trickster figure, one who […]

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Anabasis Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: Anabase, 1924 (English translation, 1930) Type of work: Poetry Type of plot: Allegory Time of work: Indeterminate Locale: The East Characters Discussed The Leader The AnabasisLeader, the central character, an unidentified man. He is the speaker who recites in epic fashion the entirety of Anabasis. He is a nomad who symbolizes the legendary […]

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Amphitryon 38 Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: 1929 First published: 1929 (English translation, 1938) Type of work: Play Type of plot: Mock-heroic Time of work: The Heroic Age Locale: Thebes, Greece Characters Discussed Alcmena Alcmena Amphitryon 38 (alk-MEE-nuh), the wife of Amphitryon, known for both her beauty and her fidelity. Although she is flattered by the fact that Jupiter wishes […]

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Amphitryon Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: Amphitruo, c. 185 b.c.e. (English translation, 1694) Type of work: Play Type of plot: Comedy Time of work: Second century Locale: Thebes Characters Discussed Amphitryon Amphitryon Amphitryon (am-FIHT-ree-uhn), a Theban general. Having defeated his enemies, Amphitryon is eager to return to his home and his wife. When she says that she already has […]

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Amores Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First transcribed: c. 20 b.c.e. (English translation, c. 1597) Type of work: Poetry Type of plot: Erotic Time of work: Augustan Age Locale: Rome Characters Discussed The speaker The Amoresspeaker, who is never named; some argue that he should be distinguished from Ovid. This first-person narrator is a Roman poet born in Sulmo, as Ovid […]

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Among Women Only Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: Tra donne sole, 1949 (English translation, 1953) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Symbolic realism Time of work: The late 1940’s Locale: Turin, Italy Characters Discussed Clelia Oitana Clelia Among Women OnlyOitana (kleh-lee-ah oh-ih-TAH-nah), the narrator, a successful couturiere, who moves from Rome to Turin, Italy, to open a fashion house. Clelia, […]

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Amerika Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1927 (English translation, 1938) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Magical Realism Time of work: The early twentieth century Locale: Primarily New York City Characters Discussed Karl Rossman Karl AmerikaRossman, a fifteen-or sixteen-year-old youth who leaves his native Prague to seek his fortune in America. A sensitive, naïve adolescent who has been […]

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The American Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1877 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: Mid-nineteenth century Locale: Paris, France Characters Discussed Christopher Newman Christopher American, TheNewman, a young American millionaire who is looking for more in life than a business career. He goes to Paris to experience European culture, and he hopes to find […]

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An American Tragedy Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1925 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Naturalism Time of work: Early twentieth century Locale: Kansas City, Chicago, and Lycurgus, New York Characters Discussed Clyde Griffiths Clyde American Tragedy, AnGriffiths, the tragic hero. The son of itinerant evangelists, he was reared in poverty amid an atmosphere of narrow-minded religiosity. He has thus […]

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The American Dream Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: 1961, at the York Playhouse, New York City First published: 1961 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Absurdist Time of work: The late twentieth century Locale: United States Characters Discussed Mommy Mommy, American Dream, Thethe head of the household, who dominates the play. She complains about poor service in the department store […]

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An American Dream Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1965 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Symbolism Time of work: 1962 Locale: New York City Characters Discussed Stephen Richard Rojack Stephen American Dream, AnRichard Rojack, the narrator and protagonist, a war hero, former congressman, professor of existential psychology, television personality, and murderer. On a late-night visit to his estranged wife, Deborah, […]

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American Buffalo Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: 1975, at the Goodman Theatre Stage Two, Chicago First published: 1976 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: The 1970’s Locale: Don’s Resale Shop in an unspecified city Characters Discussed Don Dubrow Don American BuffaloDubrow, a man in his late forties, the owner of the junk shop called […]

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America Hurrah Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: 1966, at the Pocket Theatre, New York City First published: 1967 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Allegory Time of work: The mid-1960’s Locale: A subway, an office, and a motel room Characters Discussed First Applicant First America HurrahApplicant, Jack Smith, an unemployed house painter. He is proud of his profession, his […]

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Amelia Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1751 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Domestic realism Time of work: The 1740’s Locale: England Characters Discussed Amelia Harris Booth Amelia AmeliaHarris Booth, a beautiful and virtuous young Englishwoman whose troubles begin when she marries William Booth, a young army officer, against her mother’s wishes. After the Gibraltar campaign, when her […]

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The Ambassadors Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1903 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Psychological realism Time of work: c. 1900 Locale: Paris, France Characters Discussed Lambert Strether Lambert Ambassadors, TheStrether, the chief ambassador of Mrs. Newsome, his betrothed. Strether is sent to summon Mrs. Newsome’s son Chad back from Paris to the family business in Wollett, Massachusetts. The […]

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Ambiguous Adventure Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: L’Aventure ambiguë, 1961 (English translation, 1963) Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Philosophical realism Time of work: The mid-1930’s to c. 1950 Locale: Senegal and Paris, France Characters Discussed Samba Diallo Samba Ambiguous AdventureDiallo, a young man of the Diallobé aristocracy who is perceived by all to represent the future of his […]

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Amadeus Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: 1979, at the National Theatre, London First published: 1980 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Fantasy Time of work: 1781-1823 Locale: Vienna, Austria Characters Discussed Antonio Salieri Antonio AmadeusSalieri (sahl-YEHR-ee), a court composer and later Imperial Kappellmeister to Joseph II, emperor of Austria. He has dedicated his life and his talents to […]

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Alton Locke Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1850 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: 1840’s Locale: London and Cambridge, England Characters Discussed Alton Locke Alton Alton LockeLocke, a poor London tailor, self-taught poet, and political radical. Apprenticed to a tailor with the help of his rich uncle, Alton begins questioning both his widowed mother’s […]

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Alnilam Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1987 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Philosophical realism Time of work: The 1940’s Locale: Peckover, North Carolina Characters Discussed Frank Cahill Frank AlnilamCahill, a fifty-four-year-old carpenter and amateur body builder recently blinded by a rare form of adult diabetes. Unpredictably energized by the challenges imposed by this condition, Cahill travels from […]

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Almayer’s Folly Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1895 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: Late nineteenth century Locale: The Dutch East Indies Characters Discussed Kaspar Almayer Kaspar Almayer’s FollyAlmayer, an unsuccessful Dutch trader in Malaya. His ambition is to take a large profit from a secret gold mine and return with his daughter Nina […]

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Almanac of the Dead Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1991 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Social realism Time of work: Late twentieth century Locale: Arizona, Mexico, and Colombia Characters Discussed Lecha Lecha Almanac of the Dead (LAY-chay), the mother of Ferro, and sister of Zeta. She is a celebrated psychic and keeper of the sacred Lakota text of the almanac. […]

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All’s Well That Ends Well Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First produced: c. 1602-1603 First published: 1623 Type of work: Play Type of plot: Comedy Time of work: Sixteenth century Locale: France and Italy Characters Discussed Helena Helena All’s Well That Ends Well (HEHL-eh-nuh), the orphaned daughter of Gerard de Narbon, a distinguished physician, and the ward of the countess of Rousillon. She at first […]

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All the Pretty Horses Characters

  • Last updated on December 8, 2021

First published: 1992 Type of work: Novel Type of plot: Western Time of work: 1949 Locale: East Texas and Mexico Characters Discussed John Grady Cole John All the Pretty HorsesGrady Cole, the novel’s protagonist, who grows up on an East Texas ranch. When his grandfather dies, he decides to seek a life of adventure in […]

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