A country boy and son of the late steward of the manor of Villeneuve. He likes collecting insects and has a passion for motor engines. Admissibly scruffy with a dark thatch of cat-licked hair, on appearance he takes himself pretty much for the bee’s knees. But beneath the surface Marcel is lacking in self-confidence. As he worries about failure, the spirit of a tree comes to his aid and he’s urged to blaze his own trail, even becoming an insect in the process. On discovering a marvelous though treacherous world beyond his imagination, he comes to realize just what things are really important—and what are not. But will he die a bug or be reborn a man?
Kind of heart though quick of temper, Julia has been encouraging Marcel to think big and take his chances in Paris. When he is tempted to accept an apprenticeship at the manor she accuses him of being afraid of failure. In her disappointment she also insinuates that Marcel accepts the offer just to worm his way into Villeneuve with ambitions of going out with Henriette De Forge, her cousin and the proprietor of the manor’s only daughter.
Julia, though, has her own issues, since she has been made to give up her dreams of being a concert pianist and condemned to a life in the country.
Henriette De Forge
Philibert De Forge’s only daughter and Marcel’s childhood friend, she has been bred to keep up appearances and her feelings tucked in under her hat. She is pretty much under her father’s thumb and is afraid of what her parents might think if they knew her true feelings. Since Wilfried admired Julia’s piano playing techniques Henriette jealously keeps her cousin out of her lessons and reduces her access to the instrument.
Tall and lanky with protruding ears and nose, he is the son of a large family of farm workers. He drives Father Brulin to the De Forge’s, his parents have hopes of him taking the cloth. Henriette standoffishly but, nonetheless gladly, accepts the father’s offer for Wilfried to give her piano lessons. Conscious of his humble background, he finds it hard sometimes to speak his mind among individuals of a higher social rank.
Philibert De Forge
Skittle-shaped and heavy-browed with large rubbery traits, he is a landowner and proprietor of the brick factory nearby. An overbearing father who despises lack of character, he readily challenges people to find out what they are made of. If the person doesn’t protest then he will disrespectfully dominate the relationship. He likes Marcel for his wit and character, and has taken him under his wing since the death of the boy’s father. Quite frankly thinks there is no one more appropriate to take the hand of his daughter later. Collects butterflies and beetles, which he displays in glass cabinets around the house, in an attempt to harness nature.
Mme De Forge
Through her husband she tries to engineer Marcel and Henriette’s future despite their youth. She stands on guard against Julia, her niece, and almost wishes she hadn’t asked her sister to take the empty farmhouse after her run of misfortune.
An aging Catholic priest who is a fine judge of character. Has gout and relies on Wilfried to help him get about. Goes to tea at the De Forge’s every week during which Wilfried gives Henriette her piano lesson.
She lost her husband 5 years ago, ever since she has strived on for the sake of her son, Marcel. She knows her son better than he thinks, she knows he has feelings for Julia.
Click this way to meet the insect characters.