A literary work is a fairytale, and the characters don't exist outside it. I know that. But sometimes my mind wanders and I forget.
Right now, for example, writing an essay about Jazz and focusing on the impact of Dorcas's death on other characters and the way they respond to it and cope with it, I start to wonder about Acton. It doesn't matter, perhaps. But I know how Alice and Violet and Joe and Felice feel, and want to know how Acton feels, considering that he's a playboy and a narcissist.
The characters don't care- Alice, Violet and Joe don't know about him. Felice, who does know, doesn't care. The narrator doesn't care. The author apparently doesn't care. Dorcas perhaps doesn't care either- at her last moment her thoughts are about Joe. But I care. Not that I identify with the dead girl. I don't (or do I?). But I'd like to know anyway, even though that adds nothing to the novel. An unimportant bit missing that is not missed by anybody but me.
In the end there are no answers, only questions: Surrounded by so many girls who want him and see it as a race or a fight, does Acton remember Dorcas? Does he miss her? Does he grieve?