The Rainbow Characters

The Rainbow Character List

Tom Brangwen

English farmer, lonely bachelor and dissolute skirt chaser with an undeniable zest for life who marries a Polish widow named Lydia. He loves her, loves her daughter Anna and raises his sons Tom and Fred as a kind a gentrified patriarch leading the good life. And then a flood kills him.

Lydia Lensky

Aristocratic Polish wife of Tom after the death of her first husband worked as a nurse and a housekeeper. She loves her second husband, but is somewhat withdrawn which he sees as a refusal to give of herself totally to him. Her longing for her homeland is realized in maintaining a friendship with fellow exile Baron Skrebrensky.

Anna Lensky

Daughter of Lydia by her first husband who died when she was just four. This facilitates her development of a close bond with Tom and she becomes a constant companion to her stepfather. Eventually, she will marry Tom’s nephew, William, thus taking the same married name as her mother.

William Brangwen

Tom’s nephew, Anna’s husband and lace designer by trade. His passion as a carpenter and carver in inspired by church architecture which becomes an escape from a household dominated by Anna. As he continues to search for a way out from under his wife’s thumb, he tries to apply the new skills he has learned to his lifelong passion for sculpture, only to learn the artistic zest has been drained.

Ursula Brangwen

Anna and William’s daughter who conducts her own search for a way out from her mother’s domination. This leads to becoming a schoolteacher and that leads to a sexual revolt as she begins a sexual relationship with another female teacher. Her primary relationship, however, is with Baron Skrebrensky’s son, Anton, whom she eventually rejects as a spiritually unfulfilling. A bout with pneumonia causes her to lose Anton’s baby.

Anton Skrebensky

An officer in the British army, Anton loves Ursula, but is incapable of meeting all her needs. He is also a reactionary chauvinist who simply cannot understand why she would want an education when she could be perfectly content with being the wife of an army officer. After she rejects him, he marries the perfect woman for him: his commanding officer’s daughter.

Gudrun Brangwen

Younger sister of Ursula who plays a minor role here, but goes on to become one of the major characters in Lawrence's novel Women in Love.

Winifred Inger

Teacher who briefly engages in lesbian affair with Ursula Brangwen and eventually marries her Uncle Tom.

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