The main character of Nadine Gordimer’s short story “City Lovers” is Dr Franz-Josef von Leinsdorf. He is a developing character, since his way of acting and thinking change over the course of the story.

The mixed-race woman is another major character of the story. She is not a developing character. It is important to note that she remains unnamed over the course of the story. This could reflect her lower-class status and the racist views of Dr von Leinsdorf who sees her as an inferior and objectifies her. In comparison, Dr von Leinsdorf has a full and elaborate name that suggests his upper-class status.

The woman’s mother and the policemen are secondary characters.

You can find characterisations of Dr von Leinsdorf and the woman in the following sections.