The major characters in The Optimist's Daughter are Judge McKelva, Becky Mckelva, Laurel Mckelva, Wanda Fay, Dr. Courtland, Miss Adele Courtland, Tish Bullock, Major Bullock, Miss Tennyson, and Miss Missouri. Becky Mckelva was Judge Mckelva's wife before she died and had Laurel Mckelva with him. Wanda Fay remarried Judge Mckelva after his wife's death. Dr. Courtland did surgery on Becky Mckelva and the final operation on Judge Mckelva. Miss Adele Courtland is the sister of Dr. Courtland and is a bride's maid to Laurel McKelva. Tish Bullock is also a bride's maid to Laurel and is the daughter of Miss Tennyson and Major Bullock. Miss Tennyson is another bride's maid to Laurel McKelva and is married to Major Bullock. Miss Missouri is the maid to the McKelva's and a long time friend of the family.
3.1 Two main characters in The Optimist's Daughter are Wanda Fay and Laurel McKelva. Wanda Fay is a woman in her 40's and has the maturity of a child. Whenever she becomes mad, Fay starts to scream, point fingers, and search out people who will help her. She can not stand up and fight for herself, instead Fay uses tactics to make her opponent feel sorry or inferior. This makes her extremely hard to get along with since she is always demanding and never giving. Laurel McKelva is the complete opposite of Wanda Fay. She is kind hearted, nice, caring, and intelligent. Laurel has a air of maturity and understanding around her due to her experiences in life.
3.3 In "The Optimist's Daughter" Judge McKelva will soon enter eye surgery to fix a slipped retina. Judge McKelva, his daughter, Laurel, and his new wife, Fay, are all anxious about the surgery and what might happen. Laurels mother died from cancer that started with her eyes and the family fears that the judge might be suffering from the same illness. The surgery symbolizes a fear that is contained by the three main characters and is a form of foreshadowing. As mentioned by Laurel several times, she fears that her father might not make it out of the operation and die, like her mother, blind and confused. I predict that Judge McKelva will not make it through the surgery or he will die shortly afterwards. With such a sudden death, Laurel and Fay will not have time to say good-bye to him and this will lead to complications later in the book.