Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Morris Pietersen

Morris Pietersen, a “Colored” (mixed race) male of unspecified age who lives with his brother, Zachariah. One of Morris’ most important characteristics is the fact that, in contrast to Zachariah, he has light skin, light enough so that he has been able to pass for white. As a result, Morris seems to feel guilty regarding his dark-skinned brother, needing to prove to himself and Zachariah that they do indeed have a “blood knot” and that they are, in fact, tied as brothers in a valued, however troubled, relationship. An essential aspect of Morris’ personality is that he seems driven to become closer than he has been to Zachariah. This desire is shown, in part, by Morris taking a servile position to his brother. For example, it is the brother with near-white skin who assumes the domestic chores in the house, such as cooking and preparing Zachariah’s foot baths, among other things. Morris dreams that the two of them will move someday to a deserted land to escape other negative aspects of society. A main part of his outlook on existence is improving his relationship with his brother. His desire to be close to Zachariah is sometimes undercut by his absorption in South Africa’s racialism. A central part of the plot, for example, is Morris’ exhibition of a latent dislike of blacks, as is shown when the two brothers play a game in which Morris pretends to be white, while Zachariah acts as a subservient black man. Morris’...

(The entire section is 515 words.)