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Who is he?

Laban Tall is a young farm labourer very much under the thumb of his wife, Susan. Throughout the book he’s described as ‘Susan Tall’s husband’.

What’s in a name?

Laban in the Old Testament is someone whose concern for the welfare of his family is taken to the point where it has a negative impact on himself and his family. Laban leaves the party early at the maltsters in Chapter 8, declaring that his wife is his ‘new vocation’. But this uxoriousness has led to his wife being something of a tyrant. The Talls’ new marriage is something of a comic subplot, which reminds us of the domestic realities of married life (i.e. that there might be more to it than simply romantic bliss), throwing into relief the romantic dreams of the main protagonists. Tall, of course is an amusingly ironic name for a man who’s henpecked by his wife. He also appears to love his music.

Lines that sum him up:

He can blow the flute very well – that ‘a can,” said a young married man, who having no individuality worth mentioning was known as “Susan Tall’s husband.

  Does Laban Tall love his wife deep down?
  Does Laban Tall like being told what to do?