The protagonist whose development the novel chronicles. Amory grows up with his sophisticated mother, Beatrice, until he leaves for boarding school. He then attends Princeton University and falls in love with several women, of whom Rosalind has the most traumatic impact (she breaks his heart by leaving him to marry a wealthier man). Amory is extraordinarily handsome and somewhat egocentric. He enjoys idling with friends, has literary ambitions, and ultimately achieves some portion of self-knowledge, though at the cost of losing his money and his dearest friends.
The debutante younger sister of Alec Connage, with whom Amory has a brief but intense love affair. Rosalind breaks Amory's heart when she opts to marry the wealthy Dawson Ryder instead of Amory.
The social, sophisticated mother of Amory who was educated in France. Beatrice dies while Amory is away at war.
A man who once loved Beatrice; the end of their love affair motivated him to join the clergy. Darcy became a well respected clergyman and somewhat like a foster father to Amory, with whom he maintains an intense friendship and feels a strong kinship.
Wealthy, handsome, and from an old-money family. A few years after Rosalind leaves Amory because he is too poor, she marries Dawson.
The intellectual friend of Amory who gets conventionalized by the Princeton social scene. Amory lives with him for a while in New York.
A friend of Amory's at Princeton. Despite the fact that Dick's wealth come from new money, Amory finds in him all the ideal qualities of his generation. Dick dies in an auto accident when returning from a party in New York.
The younger brother of Kerry and a good friend of Amory's at Princeton. This serious young man stages a protest of the elite social clubs at Princeton and then becomes a pacifist, refusing to fight in the war. His rejection of convention inspires Amory to look beyond the established social scene for self-understanding.
The older brother of Burne, with whom Amory maintains a rambunctious friendship at Princeton. Kerry leaves school to enlist as a pilot in the chivalrous Lafayette Espadrille in France. He is killed in the war.
The older brother of Rosalind, and a dear friend of Amory's. Amory takes the blame for Alec's immoral crime (being caught with a woman in his hotel room, unmarried).
A friend of Amory's at Princeton who is killed in the war. Amory propounds his new socialist ideals in a dialogue with Jesse's father, Mr. Ferrenby, in one of the last scenes of the novel.
The father of Jesse, who picks up Amory on the side of the road and to whom Amory propounds his new socialist ideals in one of the last scenes of the novel
The young debutante with whom Amory first falls in love. They share an innocent first affair until a minor argument reveals to them that they actually do not like one another. Isabelle derides Amory's egotism.
The widowed third cousin of Darcy, whom Amory visits often in Philadelphia. Amory loves her, but Clara claims that she has never been in love and has no intention of remarrying.
A young, wild girl, educated in France, whom Amory meets on a rainy haystack in Maryland. The two have an intense summer romance, sharing a love of literature. They can almost read each others' thoughts, but Amory feels like he is incapable of love at this point. The romance ends when Eleanor sends her horse charging toward a cliff, but throws herself off the horse just before it plummets to its death.