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Written by Micola Magdalena
Jim is a lecturer in the History department at a college in the Southern part of London. As a character, he is remarkably normal, having no outstanding qualities, dreams or talents. In the beginning of the novel, it is let to be understood that he has no control over his life whatsoever and that every decision he takes is just fate. When Jim tries to take his own decisions and control his life, he finds himself unable to do it most of the time because he is influenced by other characters and manipulated to do certain things he does not want to do. Jim is unable to fit in with the wealthy people around him and he always manages to somehow make a fool of himself because he says the wrong things and behaves in a way he should have not. Jim is concerned about not hurting Margaret and because of this he does everything he can to shelter her. When he finds that he was the one played and that Margaret was just manipulating him, he finally decides to follow his dreams and take his life into his own hands.
Margaret is another lecturer at the college where Jim teaches and it is implied that she and Jim had some kind of relationship. Margaret tried to kill herself after she was dumped by her previous boyfriend and so Jim feels protective of her. Margaret is easily offended and often send mixed messages to Jim so he is unable to tell is she likes him or not. Towards the end of the novel, it is revealed that Margaret is extremely manipulative, lying about her suicide attempt to make Jim pay more attention to her and keep him away from Christine.
Christine is the woman Bertrand Welch comes to the party with. Christine is the niece of a famous art patron and Jim unknowingly insults her when he mistakes her with Bertrand’s previous girlfriend. Despite being described as being well educated and quite easily offended, Christine ends up being more down to earth than Margaret and even helps Jim remove some burnt bed sheets from his room. Jim notices that Christine is not as perfect as he believed her to be, and tries to win her over even though he is made to feel guilty for it by Margaret.
Mr. Welch is a professor at the college where Jim works and he is Jim’s superior. Welch is used in the novel as a symbol for the older generation that passed.
Bertrand is Professor’s Welch son who comes home during the party hosted by Mr. Welch. It seems that between Bertrand and Jim exists some kind of conflict and the two are unable to get along. Although Bertrand is in a relationship with Christine, Jim sees Bertrand and Carol Goldsmith kissing one night.
Michie is a history student in the college where Jim teaches. Michie is interested in the subject taught by Jim and he is the only student Jim interacts with in the novel.
Cecil is another professor in the History Department in the college where Jim teaches. Cecil and his wife Carol are among the guests at the party hosted by Mr. Welch.
Mrs. Welch is Mr. Welch's wife. She is mentioned a couple of times in the novel as being the one who took care of Margaret after her suicide attempt.
Carol Goldsmith is Cecil’s wife who comes with him to the party hosted by Mr. Welch. There, Jim sees Carol and Bertrand kissing one night when he returns home from drinking.
Miss Cutler is the caretaker in the house Jim shares with three other men.
Evan Jones is a staff member at the college. He is also Jim’s fellow tenant in the boarding house where he stays.
Bill is an insurance salesmen and one of the men who stays in the same boarding house with Jim.
Alfred is an assistant lecturer in the English department at the faculty where Jim teaches. Alfred is also Jim’s fellow tenant in the boarding house.
Gore-Urquhart is Christine’s uncle, a rich and important man. He attends the Summer Ball at the college and there Bertrand tries to impress him, hoping that by doing so he will be offered a good professional position. Instead of liking to be in the center of attention, Gore-Urquhart prefers to keep to himself and not be the center of attention.
Maconochie is the college porter.
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