The main character of the short story “Jerry and Molly and Sam” by Raymond Carver is Al. The story is centered around his conflicts, both inner and external. Al is mostly defined by his anger and frustration, and by his inability to take responsibility for his own actions, blaming the family dog for his problems.

Al’s wife, Betty points to one of the external conflicts in the story. She is also a problematic character, frequently suffering from outbursts of anger. On the other hand, Al’s mistress, Jill, is presented at first as the main character’s refuge, but even she irritates him at times. Al’s children, Alex and Mary also appear in the story. They indicate to Al that his decision to abandon the dog not only will not solve his problems but will create further ones as well. The dog, Suzy, is also important, especially as a symbol. She is Al’s scapegoat, and Al comes to see her as the representation of all his problems.

Molly and Jerry also appear in the story. Although they are the title characters, their importance is more a symbolic one. Al’s first dog, Sam, is also mentioned twice. Like Molly and Jerry, he is also important as a symbol.