Who are the main characters in Rosa Guy's book "Friends"?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The main character in "Friends" is Phyllisia Cathay, a sensitive, intelligent young teen from the West Indies who is having trouble adjusting to life in Harlem.  She is strong-willed, mocked by her peers because of her accent and academic ability and clashing frequently with her domineering father.  Phyllisia struggles to reconcile the superficial values with which she has grown up with the qualities of true friendship.

Other important characters are Phyllisia's parents Calvin and Ramona Cathay, her sister Ruby Cathay, and her friend Edith Jackson.  Calvin Cathay is the master of his house; although he loves his family, he has difficulty communicating with them.  His method of asserting himself is through harshness and anger.  Ramona Cathay, like Phyllisia, is sensitive and discerning.  She is beautiful, but teaches Phyllisia that there is more to a person than how she looks.  Ramona has breast cancer, and dies in the course of the narrative.  Ruby Cathay is a good-hearted teenager who is more easy-going than Phyllisia and eager to please.  She is fun-loving, and interested in gossip and boys.  Edith Jackson has been responsible for caring for her family from a young age, and is scorned for her ragged appearance and poor economic situation.  She is generous and determined, and shows Phyllisia the true meaning of friendship. 

Check out the enotes links below for a more complete description of characters!


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