Ansel: a fourteen-year-old white boy living in the town of Davis in the Deep South in 1946. He spends his summers working in his father's general store.
Little Willie: A black boy who lives and works on the Davis family's plantation and also helps stock the back room in Ansel's father's store. He and Ansel spend afternoons fishing together when they can escape their duties.
Bert: Ansel's father, fears being called a nigger lover. He doesn't like that his son hangs out with a black boy and vows to put an end to their friendship.
Maureen: Ansel's mother, who is abused by Bert. She tries to find the courage to give her son a better life than Davis can offer.
Mary Susan: the preacher's daughter. Ansel has a crush on her.
Zeph Davis: A bully, a tyrant, a racist and a rapist, Zeph is the son of the town's landowner. He also has eyes for Mary Susan and rapes and murders her after she rejects him.
Big Willie: Little Willie's father, who served in World War II and is haunted by the memories of death and the Holocaust. He now does construction on the local church. He, Ansel, and Bert see Zeph rape and murder Mary Susan, but Big Willie is blamed for it and Ansel and Bert don't defend him. He is lynched the same day Mary Susan is killed.
The white townspeople: watch intently as Big Willie is lynched, cheering and enjoying soda from Bert's store.
Adult Ansel: recalls the proceedings of that afternoon with shame and regret. He declares that he is the guardian of his pain.
Award-winning author Julius Lester delivers a powerful novel about the cruelty of lynching and prejudice, and the possibilty for redemption.
Age: 14 years +
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 04 / 2011
- 181 x 127mm