Reflex and Bone Structure Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Author: Clarence Major

First published: 1975

Genre: Novel

Locale: New York City

Plot: Experimental

Time: The late 1960's or early 1970's

The narrator, who functions as a screening device for the novel as well as being a primary character. Although nameless and never described, the narrator self-reflexively manipulates the plot and characters of this episodic novel. Through repeated references to the act of writing, the narrator playfully deconstructs the text while in the process of composing it. The narrator is whimsical, forgetful, and unreliable. The other characters are seen exclusively through the narrator's eyes. The narrator refuses to tell a consistent story that follows traditional discursive conventions. Little is known of the personal history of the narrator other than that he lives in Manhattan. The narrator exists through the act of writing, and his identity is inextricably tied to that process. Throughout the novel, the narrator remains aloof, detached, and fearful of his advancing age.

Cora Hull, an African American actress who lives in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. At various times, she has intimate relationships with the three other characters in the novel. She is often in rehearsal for plays but never seems to have any long-term commitments, either to the stage or the other characters. She may have been killed in a mysterious bombing episode that occurs in the beginning of the novel, but because of the convoluted time frame of the plot, the reader cannot be sure. She is described as being twenty-five years old and as having been born and brought up in Atlanta.

Canada Jackson, an African American who may be part of a black revolutionary group. He is a serious suitor of Cora and in this way is a rival of both Dale and the narrator. Canada collects weapons and keeps a gun in the silverware drawer in the kitchen of his apartment. He is also an actor in New York.

Dale, an Off-Broadway actor who flits in and out of the text and remains largely undefined. The narrator professes to have the most difficult time constructing Dale. Furthermore, Dale threatens the narrator's sense of self. As another suitor of Cora, Dale causes more problems than Canada. The narrator is very jealous of Dale and often sends him on long journeys.

Categories: Characters