The protagonist is a dipsomaniacal
writer named Erling Vik, whose numerous love relationships form the core of the book.
This prefigured emerging gendered notions of intemperance which regarded drunkenness as basically a male vice that afflicted women through the abuse visited upon them by dipsomaniacal
husbands and fathers.
Slack, "your neighbour," who builds and paints his greenhouse and who has a dipsomaniacal
wife whose incapacitation nudges him into the arms of Millicent, "your daughter," whom he gets with child, having won her affections with the present of a bangle bracelet.
Exploitation of blacks by the upstart white Hubbard family is a theme in both plays; but industrial challenges to the agrarianism of the Old South, the decline of personal and family honor, and the ineffectuality of aristocratic relics of the Southern past, such as Oscar Hubbard's lovable, fragile and dipsomaniacal
wife, Birdie, create an atmosphere of irreversible decadence and corruption.
Lisa Pelikan vamps and schemes with dipsomaniacal
gusto as the plotting wife.