Somerset Maugham: He is the narrator of the book. Maugham is a French author known to be very curious. At the beginning of the book, he states that he invents nothing and that his main purpose while writing is to set down his knowledge and experience. He thinks that when people are no good at anything they become writers as he did. In part 1, we can easily see that the narrator of the book really has a power of observation which Elliott admires a lot.
Elliott Templeton: Elliott Templeton is very well described in the first pages of Part 1. Elliott is a pretentious snob who only thinks about prestige and wealth. Nonetheless, he is bright, very generous, tireless and he is very friendly although he is defined as being a little too clever. By the end of Part 1, we learn that he is very good at gossiping. He is not easily fooled and he has perfect social tact. Although he has no interest in people apart from their social position, Elliott Templeton is always there to help when needed. He does not agree with Isabel regarding the fiancé she has chosen. Elliott wants Isabel to marry Gray Maturin.
Louisa Bradley: She is Elliott Templeton’s sister. Louisa is known to be succinct and unanswerable. She knows what she wants. She does not like Larry mostly because he does not have a job. She still thinks that Larry could make her daughter happy in life.
Larry Darrell: Larry is the main protagonist of the story. He went to war when he was 16 years old and he came back not being the same person he was before. War has changed him. As for now, he is considered by everyone as being a very nice man. He states that he does not know what is his real purpose in life yet, which demonstrates that he is young and ignorant about certain things. In Part 1, we can see that Larry is very reticent about many things in his life but he has a lot of self-possession for a young man. He is leaving for Paris for two years soon. He says he wants to go and “loaf.”
Henry Maturin: Henry Maturin is a very rich man whose job is to be an investment broker. Henry is very proud of his business and he is described as being the typical American businessman. He is very empathetic. For example, he states that he would prefer to lose his own money than to see his clients lose theirs.
Isabel: She is Louisa’s daughter and she has known Larry since a very young age. She is madly in love with Larry and she seems not to care about the opinion of others regarding her choices. Physically, she is described as being a little plump.
Gray Maturin: He is Henry’s son and he works with his father as a broker. Gray Maturin is very close to Larry and he is in love with Isabel.