Characterisation of other characters

“Debbie and Julie” by Doris Lessing features quite a few characters, but the most important ones are Julie, Debbie, and Julie’s parents. The American man, the Lebanese man, the other girls, Aunt Jessie and her family are secondary or absent characters and only appear in Julie’s flashbacks. They are relevant for the overall social setting of the short story.



Debbie is an absent character in the short story, and she is only depicted through Julie’s perspective and flashbacks.

Outer characterisation

Her outer characterisation presents her as a prostitute — she runs an illegal business where she receives her clients and where a man deals drugs. Physically, Debbie is a “big girl”, older than Julie but still attractive:

…Debbie was a big handsome girl. Her skin was very white and she had black shinny straight hair, and she made up her lips to be thin and scarlet and curving, just right for the lashing, slashing tongue behind them. 

At the time of the narration, Debbie had been gone for three weeks with an American TV producer who initially took her to Paris and then to New York.

Inner characterisation

Debbie’s inner characterisation is conveyed through what...

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