Character Profiles

The daughter of the family maid, Cheryl has benefited educationally from her association with the LeVays.  Just on the verge of college, Cheryl is bright, hardworking, relatively no-nonsense, and always well-intentioned.  She has had a longstanding crush on Flip.

…Jesus, your dad’s famous…That’s a free pass to anywhere you wanna go.  I’m bustin’ my ass trying to raise enough money to supplement work study, and you cryin’ in your milk because people at Harvard were mean to you.

I’ve seen that kind of mean, it’s crazy…

You think people at that stuck up school weren’t mean to me?  Of course they were, and it wasn’t just the white girls.  They were all mean.  But I didn’t lose sleep over it.  Because I knew who I was before I went there. (II. iv.)

Kent’s fiancée.  She is the daughter from an earlier marriage of renowned public intellectual, James Bradley Scott.  Taylor was raised by a single mother college professor.  Though she carries her father’s name, and so has had entrée to some social privileges, he was not a part of her life. She has also lacked financial resources.

Well, I got here, and this incredible house, and all these beautiful Black folks… I’ve never been on the inside of all of this, not like this.  And it feels good…like, really good.  Like right.  But it’s hard, it’s scary, because, you know, I wanna make a good impression, and it’s hard meeting the folks, the family...  (II. i.)

The youngest son of the LeVay Family.  Kent has grown up with an artistic disposition in a family of doctors and lawyers.  He is a writer, and his novel has just been picked up by a “small, reputable” publishing house.  Although financially privileged, he has struggled to find his place in life and with his family, especially his father.  He loves Taylor, and though she may not see it, his gentleness is a valuable ingredient in their relationship.  Taylor refers to him as “Spoon.”

See, I wanted the confrontation with Michael and his dad to be subtle…it can’t be histrionic, or it’s cheap…O.K…. here it is…  (Reading)  It was in his brow.  A measured crease that was always present, but deepened, not with concern as one would expect, but whenever the conversation shifted from him.  Michael saw the shadow in that furrow grow darker, and he knew that soon his opening would have passed.  It was not possible to express displeasure, even uncertainty in his father’s presence, but a certain amount of honesty was required…a certain kind of communication, a language that played out in anecdotes and connotations, might…  (I. iii.)

Oldest son and “golden boy” of the LeVay family.  Flip has, with some compromises, fallen in line with his father’s expectations.  He is a plastic surgeon, and an incorrigible ladies’ man.

I don’t bring just anyone up here.

I find that hard to believe.

What, that you’re not just anyone…

Please, this is all part of your mac daddy package… the old pictures of you on the fridge, the cute little brother… a charming father… all part of a deeper kind of seduction.  (II. i.)

Joseph is a charming, opinionated, and frequently droll man, who rules his family with a firm, albeit occasionally uneven, hand.  Like Flip, he has always had a way with women.

…Nobody can make you feel inferior.  I’ve been the head of this house, coming to this island for the last forty years, put in hundreds of thousands of dollars of renovations…. But there’ll never be a sign out front that reads “LeVay.”  This will always be the Whitcomb house, and I’ll always be the guy lucky enough to marry into the great Whitcomb dynasty….  (II. i.)

Flip’s girlfriend.  Kimber is an intelligent woman with a quick wit and sincere warmth.  Unlike Taylor, her social status matches that of the LeVays—with, of course, the undeniable privilege of whiteness.  She is aware of this, and on some level appalled by it.

…So what we don’t talk about in my family?  My Grandmother’s brother married an Irish immigrant. In my world that’s beyond unacceptable[…]…someone fell in love with someone they weren’t supposed to… a whole branch of the family we don’t acknowledge.  I watched Grandma, loving, sweet, philanthropic, Chanel and pearl wearing old lady, walk past nieces and nephews on the street without a word.  Just cut ‘em out.  No one questioned it.  I didn’t even.  And these are people who vote “family values.”  Why am I telling you this?  (II.i.)