Joseph Santangelo, a butcher with a thriving business on Mulberry Street. In spite of the fact that he is usually guilty of tipping the scales with his thumb when he is weighing meat, his female customers never complain of being cheated because he gives them total admiration and attention.
Carmela Santangelo, Joseph’s mother, who makes sausage from an old and secret recipe. The sausage accounts in large part for the popularity of the market.
Catherine Falconetti, who marries Joseph as a result of her father losing a bet in a pinochle game. Still a virgin and uninitiated in sexual jokes and play, she does not understand what Joseph means when he rubs her hand with his “cheating” thumb, but Joseph understands for the first time the value of maidenhood.
Theresa Santangelo, the daughter of Catherine and Joseph, who at an early age displays many of her grandmother’s traits, especially her preoccupation with religion and the saints.
Augie Santangelo, who married Evelyn, sold his share of the butcher shop to his brother Joseph, and with Evelyn moved away to take up a new kind of life, different from that of his immediate family.
Lino Falconetti, Catherine’s father, the owner of a radio repair shop across the street from the butcher shop. Whereas the butcher shop is a success, the radio repair shop is not, because radios are no longer in demand.
Nicky Falconetti, the son of Lino and brother of Catherine. He is also unlucky in pinochle and in practically everything else. Nicky’s passion is the Saturday afternoon broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera Company.