51 pages 1 hour read

Elizabeth Gray Vining

Adam of the Road

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1942

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Character Analysis

Adam Quartermayne

Adam is the protagonist of the book, and the story is mostly told through his point of view. He is the only round and dynamic character, developing throughout the story. The novel directly characterizes Adam as well-liked because he is fun-loving, tells fun stories, and sings well. Vining describes him as “tousle-headed and snub-nosed, wide-mouthed and square-jawed,” with “gray eyes [that] were honest and twinkling” (15). Adam’s kindness and generosity are evident in many of his actions: He always saves part of his meal for Nick (18), shares his warhorse with the other boys at Sir Edmund’s estate (73), and uses the last of his money to buy the de Vesey family a meal (231).

As a typical hero and coming-of-age protagonist, Adam is framed as innately good and kind. However, at the start of the book, Adam is also naive. Because he sees the world as good and fair, he is shocked at others’ dishonorable behavior when he encounters injustice. For example, Adam is angry when Daun William is robbed and kidnapped, particularly because the crime is committed by a knight in violation of his honor code: “Robbers. Stopping a good merchant who was going about his business without harming anybody! A knight, who had vowed to be chivalrous and protect the weak! Somebody ought to go after them” (172-73).