Winnie is a super optimistic woman who is able to find contentment in a life pared down to less than bare necessities. She is not resentful about her situation, nor is she unhappy with her husband's limitations. She seems to bear a hard life with handy rationalizations and good grace. She lives, for the most part, in the present, although her memories of a happier past intrude.
Willie is limited in his emotions and his ability to relate to Winnie. He is content reading want ads and obituaries in an old newspaper. Willie lives in the past and rarely comes up for air in the present. When he does, he is childlike. He needs to be told when to put his pants on and how to protect himself from the sun as well as which way to crawl (backward or forward) to enter his place of rest, a hole in the ground.