Newton Buchanan Winger
Newton Buchanan Winger, the protagonist, a boy of twelve. He experiences momentous encounters of life, including death, violent and otherwise, and love, both sexual and familial. The youngest in a large, close-knit family, Newt grows both physically and emotionally. At the end, when he leaves the Midwest town of his birth for a new home in Minnesota, his mother’s dream of him going on to better things seemingly is fulfilled.
Sarah Winger, Newt’s mother, a housekeeper for a white judge. She is the keystone of the Winger family. Although increasingly suffering from the heart condition that eventually kills her, Sarah leads her family and is, for an African American in the 1920s, a respected person in town. Sarah’s hopes crystallize around Newt, who shows both intellectual ability and artistic promise.
Jack Winger, Sarah’s husband and Newt’s father. He is hardworking and well-intentioned but does not always understand or sympathize with Newt’s interests or Sarah’s ambitions for Newt. A struggling farmer willing to do whatever work is necessary to keep his family together, Jack is an honorable figure in Cherokee Flats. He is well aware that Sarah is the dominant figure of their household.
Arcella Jefferson, Newt’s first love. Newt and Arcella fall in love, sit together in the...
(The entire section is 436 words.)