Here we present our observations and analysis of the central characters of the story -- Bea, Evie, and Jack -- as well as many of the others. We examine their positive and negative qualities, their values and beliefs, how they handle adversity, the nature of their relations with others, and other aspects of their character.
- An energetic, intelligent, and attractive young woman with drive to succeed, Bea is the daughter of a now dead father who she feels bitterly about as she embarks on a career in the field of fashion.
- Bea lost her mother when she was 10 or 12 and had to grow up too quickly. Her father kept her at home, prevented her marriage and refused to confide in her. He prevented either of the girls from getting a proper college education.
- She learned to distrust men and rely only on her own resources. Already 30, she is resigned to die an old maid. Even when Jack proposes, she cannot conceive that she can get married and have children. For a long time, she is unable to give up her sense of self-reliance and independence.
- In year 1 episode 5, the dissipated wealthy socialite Daphne comes and tells her how much she envies Bea for her accomplishments and how much she has wasted her own life. Here is life telling Bea that the hardships she has suffered have made her what she is – forged the aspiration, fire and strength of character that makes her a success. Whereas the lack of challenge in Daphne’s life has become a curse. Life brings this to make Bea conscious of her good fortune.
- Tight with money, which we later discover that her father was spending on a nightclub, a mistress and her son, the girls are forced to make clothes from remnants. Thereby they develop a talent for design and dressmaking.
- She is intelligent, modern, practical, and good, with solid organizational and managerial skills.
- Bea has a generally positive, good intelligent nature, with high controlled energy.
- She is fiercely dedicated to the success of House of Eliott.
- She frequently demonstrates psychological strength, e.g. when dealing with problem employees like Florence, or with difficult, abusive, and destructive characters like Arthur and Saroyan.
- She is generally an agreeable and open person; though practical and hard-nosed. However, if she perceives others are going to abuse her, she shows her strength by moving into to overcome the problem. There is little weakness in her demeanor in that way.
- Overall, Bea’s demonstrates a fearless strength to overcome any obstacle.
- She demonstrates goodness on a number of occasions: e.g. in the initial interview with Jack when she defers to the needs of Evie; in dealing with Daphne, the floozy friend of Arthur who she sympathizes with and shows compassion for; and through gratitude and compassion in dealing with the well-being of Tilly.
- She even shows sympathy to Grace’s plight, whereas Evie is (wrongly) outraged by the situation.
- Bea demonstrates a number of very positive values, including trustfulness, openness, and practicality to name a few, which have enabled HOE to thrive despite enormous obstacles.
- Through Jack's parents, she adopts positive values, compassion, and a willingness to nurture her workers.
- Over time, she develops an ability to mentor others, and she also gives people an opportunity to join in and succeed at House of Eliott.
- Throughout the story, Bea demonstrates integrity; as well as self-sufficiency when it comes to money.
- She shows a greater capacity than Evie to compromise their differences. She has less of the artistic temperament, and more of the rational, practical.
- She shows an ability to change, as when she learns new social values from Jack’s parents and applies them by being more compassionate to her workers.
- Rather than deny it, she embraces humiliation when it comes to her through Lady Latner, realizing how fixed she is in only wanting to cater to the aristocracy.
- There is thus a rational strain that runs through her character.
- She becomes more balanced as a person through her relationship with Jack. E.g., it helps her compromise her differences with Evie for the direction of the firm. It also enables her to better express her emotions, letting her energies to flow, which gives support to House of Eliott.
- She has great difficulty balancing her commitment to work and her relationship to Jack. She opts for the company, until later on when Jack finds his way in his career taking the pressure off of Bea who feels hounded by Jack when he cannot find his own long-term direction.
- There is a certain lack of flexibility on her part in opening to new possibilities, markets, and designs as her sister Evie is able to do, which she gradually overcomes somewhat.
- She can be "practical" to the point of not wanting to change, to seek out new possibilities. Evie's positive qualities in these areas eventually has an impact on her.
- She has a somewhat angry nature that is ready to lash out; in part biologically, i.e. inherited, and in part, due to her persistent ill feelings toward her father, which she gradually overcomes.
- Her continuous anger towards her father gradually relents over time as she learns more of the truth about him, and herself.
- She eventually overcomes much of her bitterness and anger towards her father (and therefore life) and grows as a person.
- Evie is an artistic, beautiful young woman, the younger sister of Bea.
- Evie’s mother died during childbirth. Bea, who was 12 years older, acted as the baby's mother and raised her. The spoiled younger daughter who has not had to grow up quickly and sacrifice, throughout the story Evie chooses what attracts her while Bea denies herself out of sense of responsibility. In Bea, she had a real mother.
- She like her sister dream to design dresses.
- She has deep aspiration for developing creative, quality attire and being successful at it.
- She is dynamic and creative in her design pursuits.
- She has continuous inspirations and intuitions of fine design.
- Evie is innovative and dynamic, and is in touch with the needs of the changing times.
- She is a pioneer in her field.
- Evie has a generally positive nature; sometimes very positive.
- She has a powerful ability to forgive and show compassion for others as in the case of Yolanda who threatened to ruin her, and with Agnes later on.
- Evie’s essential goodness shows up often. E.g., when she sees the suffering woman on the street at the very outset of the story, attracting Penelope, Jack, and Tilly in the process, and setting the stage for a new life in clothing design at HOE.
- Evie shows constant positive attitude and optimism that brings success to her.
- She has the ability to see the positive in a difficult situation, as she did in the Alice affair, and on other occasions, such as the malicious letter written against HOE by Victor Stride.
- She has the profound perception that each time there is a crisis, they develop a new collection!
- She has the intelligence and insight to see into Arthur’s treachery.
- She showed considerable strength in dealing with difficult situations such as the scandal with Victor and Yolanda.
- She shows high values by turning down the money from Alex.
- She has a sometimes wanting artistic temperament that does not know compromise (e.g. with Bea and later with Grace).
- She is eventually able to compromise with Bea in their artistic vs. practical conflict; though Bea makes more of the positive change.
- She can show flashes of anger if circumstance does not suit her, or if others do not appreciate her action (as in the case of Bea who is skeptical about several of her romantic relationships).
- She can be naïve and start struck as she was in dealing with Victor Stride.
- Evie is jealous and reluctant in dealing with Grace, which showed perhaps her greatest failings. It also shows her being the temperamental, egotistic artist.
- She shows a certain degree of recklessness in her romantic relationships including with James, Sebastian, and Alex. (It is often true with a person of an artistic temperament.)
- Even her relationship with and marriage to Daniel has a hint of instability in it. They are after all two temperamental artists.
- Jack is the spoiled son of idealistic reformer (Fabian) parents and an idealistic sister, Jack has started life with no values or serious pursuits.
- Jack rudely insults Bea the first time they meet when he says that Evie is too young and pretty to be his secretary but Bea will do just fine. Like Darcy, who slighted Elizabeth at the first ball telling Bingley she was only ‘tolerable’ and then had to run after Elizabeth and brook her insults before she agreed to marry him, Jack too has to wait a long time and ask Bea repeatedly before she finally consents to marry him. Neither of them may have remembered the slight, but life did.
- He is attracted to Bea for her aspiration, character and values, which he lacks.
- As Bea rises, they become estranged. He wants her and a child. She wants a career and achievement. Their estrangement becomes the occasion for Jack to examine himself and seek a more meaningful career.
- When she goes to America for Sear’s promotion, he goes to Germany and takes the first step toward a meaningful career.
- Bea responds to his inner growth without knowing it and begins to miss him when he is not present on his return.
- He moves from society photographer to romantic filmmaker, from romantic films to war films with a social message, from films to journalism on social causes, from journalism to politics to uplift the poor.
- Jack blossoms as an individual when he forgets Bea and dedicates himself to a worthy cause. That brings back Bea.
- Jack’s studio would be the future home of the House of Eliott. He is intimately involved in the unfolding of the business at every step of the way. In his own way, he will be a third partner, as he will help resolve many issues for them; and will even grow as a person in his work and in general through problems that HofE will encounter, and that he will be involved in resolving.
- In the early period, Jack needs Bea so much because his energies are not being out to best use in his work, especially after leaving his photography business. However, when he gets his footing in his film and then his political career, he has the right balance of energies to be with Bea.
- In some ways at times Jack is almost like the third partner of House of Eliott.
- He is like a consultant and a guiding hand for Bea and Evie. E.g. in his advocacy of their taking on worker’s compensation.
- He also helps them with money at crucial times in Hof E's development
- Near the end of the 3rd season, Jack once again comes through and finds a place for HofE to present their collection. (How many times he has helped them when the chips were down.)
- Jack has a practical, open-minded, and rational view about things. E.g. we see this when he gives reasonable advise to Penelope, who could have been beaten badly. We see it also when he convinces Bea to be more rational and agreeable in her disputes about the direction of HofE with Bea.
- Jack constantly surprises with his penetrating insights. You don't expect this from a playboy-like personality, but as we hall see later his family is from highly developed, intelligent stock.
- Jack moves from his playboy-like career as photographer to film maker that portray high social values to becoming an instrument of them through advocacy and politics. He gradually applies his parents’ values in his own life.
- We see how Jack demonstrates high values in his career. E.g., he refuses to take on the proposal of the American film, with its questionable values, and is thereafter able to accept doing a German film of higher integrity, portraying some of the values he advocated.
- In his film career, he values meaning over money.
- Jack has the same problem he had with his films now with his articles. They are too controversial for the publishers. And yet he remains calm to this setback, keeping to his ideals, and suddenly another party comes forth offering him a weekly column.
- He develops a real aspiration and determination to move his social development agenda forward. He is in tune with the emerging aspirations of the worker who seeks fairness and justice in work. It is the glory days of the rise of the worker class and worker rights.
- Jack through his political work is essentially carrying on in the spirit of his sister's work, and his parent's idealistic and progressive vision.
- Despite the scandal to HofE regarding working condition, Jack shows strength and bravery to tell the truth about the situation, is vindicated before the (Labor) Party, relieving HofE of embarrassment.
- At first, Jack needs Bea too much because he has not found an outlet for his energies.
- Because Jack resented that Bea would not devote herself fully to him in order to tend to her work, Jack became the vehicle for her and her sister's near ruin of the Aurora collection, when they break in to steal a copy of the designs happens at his studios.
- Jack goes through a long arc of change in order to be in balance with Bea's needs. She likewise changes so she can have a better relationship with Jack.
- Their being apart from one another was necessary for the growth of each.
- Jack helps Bea open up as a person, enabling her energies to flow, which allows for her better relationships with Evie and others at work.
- Treacherous, Debauched, Deceiving, Manipulative
- Only shows human emotions in his romantic feelings toward Evie.
- The aunt of Bea and Evie.
- Attracts negative circumstance
- Old, conservative values
- Tries and fails to control Evie and Bea's lives.
- Has a limited view of what woman can achieve on their own in society.
- Is mostly against the formation and operations of House of Eliott.
- Is ignorant of her son's debauchery and larceny.
- Is devastated when she finally learns the truth.
- Is forced to move away to America after her son’s disgrace.
Arthur and Lydia
- Both of them are overbearing, unsympathetic, mean and condescending, even commenting on the poor arrangements for Dr. Eliott’s funeral.
- When Arthur wants to give them some money, Lydia prevents it. At her insistence, Arthur withholds 400 pounds due to them on the excuse that they would waste it, but actually to keep them vulnerable and dependent.
- The girls spurn Lydia and Arthur’s support.
- Evie returns his present of a ring and rejects his marriage proposal categorically and rudely.
- The same night Arthur proposes to Evie, Piggy asks Bea to come away with him to Birmingham where he will seek work as an actor. His is not even a legal marriage proposal. But Bea rejects it very kindly because he has been so good and kind to them.
- She is the one who stole the earrings and gave hoe a bad name with the jeweler.
- She is the source of the duchess’s scandal.
- She is the source of the quarrel in the bar that leads to imprisonment of Betty’s husband.
- She is the one who lets her boyfriend into the building where he steals Tilly’s purse and Katya is blamed for it.
- She is young, ambitious and without values. She was attracted to hoe because they too are young aspiring women seeking to be self-reliant. Coming from a lower class, she lacks their values, which are the keys to their success and her failure.
- She is key designer of the highly successful aurora line, which launched hoe into ready-to-wear business, which will become their future.
- Through Grace, Evie’s future husband Daniel comes.
- Through Grace, their future designer Miles comes.
- Through Grace, their future investor, Miles’ father comes.
- Through Grace, Miles father tells jack about Carrouber’s dishonest past, which becomes key to Jack winning the election and becoming mp.