Alice Adams

Alice Adams



The book, Alice Adams describes the life of a aristocratic family trying to gain social wealth. The protagonist, Alice, is born into a middle class family, however, she believes that she is a member of a great aristocracy. Even though Alice and her family are middle class, they stop at nothing to impress others with wealth they don't have. The scheming of each of the family members, demonstrates the absurdity of the games of the social ladder during the progressive era.

Character List

  • Alice Adams – The main protagonist. An ambitious and vivacious young woman of 22 years whose optimism belies her declining social status.
  • Arthur Russell – A young man smitten with Alice despite her family's lack of wealth and declining status.
  • Virgil Adams – Alice's father. A man of integrity who lacks ambition. He is forced to take unacceptable risks on his family's behalf.
  • Mrs. Adams – Alice's mother. A malcontent who always wants more than her husband can provide.
  • Walter Adams – Alice's brother. A young man without ambition who prefers to consort with the lower classes.
  • J. A. Lamb – Virgil's boss. An honorable man who runs a very successful business.


1922 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Nominated for the Academy Awards for both Best Picture and Best Actress

Film Adaptation

Created into a major motion picture in 1935 as a romantic film made by RKO Pictures. Directed by George Stevens and produced by Pandro Berman the film starred Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, and Fred Stone. With a music score by Max Steiner and screenplay by Dorothy Yost, the humorous yet romantic movie became an instant hit with critics and viewers alike.


Booth Tarkington


"Booth Tarkington." Angelfire. 28 May 1998. 7 Mar. 2008 <>.