The main character of the story is Charles J. Wales who is 35 years old. He has deep wrinkle between his eyes but when he was about to ring the bell, his wrinkle got even deeper. This reflects the emotional pressure he felt when he was about to step out of his own personal world into an unknown one, at his brother-in-law house. This is due to the awareness he has about being an “insider” or “outsider”. According to Tuan, your feelings change depending on whether or not you are inside or outside a place where you are either exposed or feel privacy (107). This is seen with Charles who felt as an insider within his own body as long as he didn’t have to deal with people from his past such as his wife’s sister. He felt free of any type of pressure or judgment. He felt as if he was “outside” of a place even though his body was physically inside because he felt his personal space was being invaded by his bother-in-law and his wife. He didn’t feel the privacy you usually feel when you step inside your home, where you can act any way you want. Instead he had to be very cautious about what he could and couldn’t do there because his actions could be misinterpreted. In other words he didn’t feel welcome.
He went to visit his small daughter named Honoria who lived with his brother-in-law in France. Marion who has the custody of the child has a very bad impression of him as being a cruel person who made her sister’s life miserable. On top of that he was an alcoholic. He faces the challenge of convincing Marion that he overcame his addiction. He also has to prove to her that he is an emotionally stable person. Tuan says, “He was the master builder, a man of vision and temperament who did not hesitate to impose his own personality on design” (105). This is seen when Charles was irritated with Marion but controlled his anger toward her to the degree that she couldn’t know how he was feeling. By doing this she wouldn’t have the upper hand. This was a strategic move from his side as he built up his status in front of Marion and her husband just like you build a house through planning. Now she saw him as a person who was down to earth.