Outside of Dr. John Prentice, Joey constitutes perhaps the most central and important character in the film. Her characterization is such that she is distinct from virtually every other character. Clearly the most significant difference between Joey’s character and the others is her lack of racial prejudice. Not only is her relationship with John a significant aspect of this theme, but she also demonstrates a professed love for the house made, Tillie. While one may argue that she shares this trait with John, she is ultimately portrayed as blissfully unaware that others might feel tension at her inter-racial relationship. John even states, “It’s not that our color difference makes no difference to her, it’s that to her, there is no difference.” At a number of points throughout the film she breaks through this naiveté, making a number of subtle and clever comments at the expense of her mother; for instance, when her mother first encounters John, Joey states that her mother should sit down because of her perceived shock at John being a negro. It is this knowledge that is hidden directly under her bubbly and superficial outward demeanor that is perhaps Joey’s most interesting character element. Another important character element is Joey’s happiness. Her mother makes a speech attesting to her happiness as a youth, which still pales in comparison to her happiness with John. This differentiates her from the other characters, who are depicted as tired and experienced, and also functions to increase audience sympathy for her union with John in the face of her family’s apprehension.
Conversely, Dr. John Prentice is characterized throughout the film in a slightly different way than Joey. Perhaps the significant element of his characterization is the frequent reference made to his importance – Joey’s father’s assistant first states this and it is later mentioned by Monsignor Ryan. The most obvious explanation for the