Despite his many flaws, Charlie is a man whom almost everyone can’t help but like. It’s surprising that Charlie’s so likeable considering his wild past of uncontrollable alcoholism, his possible complicity in his wife’s death, and the fact that he essentially abandoned his child. He seems so earnest in his efforts to reverse the situation. We also note that he rejects his former friends and he merely takes only one drink per day. Fitzgerald also conveys Charlie’s great personal charm. Charlie is a physically attractive man, a quality that clearly affects Lorraine and possibly even Marion. He is also a winning, persuasive speaker, able to manipulate listeners without seeming to try. On the other hand, throughout history, we can not avoid suspecting him. His justification for taking one drink per day makes sense when he explains it—Charlie implies that he doesn't want to give alcohol power over him—but seems nonsensical later. We wonder if he'll slip back into drinking heavily. When Charlie rejects his former friends, we think back to the beginning of the story when he gives Lincoln and Marion’s address to Alix, knowing that it’ll land in Duncan Schaeffer’s hands. As a result, we wonder whether some part of him actually wants to return to the old days.
Marion acts both as a stand-in for the reader. On the one hand, we likely share all her reservations about Charlie. On the other hand, her unpleasant attitudes set us against her. We want to dismiss her reservations, even if we know we shouldn’t, which puts us even more firmly in Charlie’s camp. Marion is the mirror image of Charlie: although logic demands that we approve of her actions, her difficult personality masks her essential goodness and makes her difficult to like. Marion is unhappy with her own life and focuses her frustrations on Charlie, but there’s no doubt that she is a good woman. She has taken Honoria in, treated her as...