(Great Characters in Literature)

Characters Discussed

Corporal Jonathan (Johnny) Church

Corporal Jonathan (Johnny) Church, the protagonist, a soldier during England’s civil war. Tall, with autumn-colored hair and tawny eyes, the twenty-year-old Johnny is solemn and sorrowful. Coming from a strict Presbyterian family, with a cold mother and a bitter, cruel father, he is quiet, shy, and solitary. He is not, however, formally religious, though he later longs to become so. A somewhat rebellious youth who thought he would change the world, he disobeys his father and runs away to join Cromwell’s army. He quickly adjusts to the life of a soldier, hiding his fear and remaining aloof. He is watchful and witty, easily led and influenced by others, especially by Robbie Lokyar, Francis White, and, of course, Oliver Cromwell. Elected an Agitator of his company, he carries on the struggle for liberty. Betrayed and disillusioned, he becomes suspicious and distrustful. Feeling abandoned, he becomes melancholy and full of despair and emptiness. His thoughts become uncontrollable as he reassesses his life from a position of being adrift and afraid yet longing for comfort and reassurance. He finally comes to terms with his life and his God. Along with his friend, Thankful, he is shot for treason.

Corporal Thankful Perkins

Corporal Thankful Perkins, Johnny’s closest friend and a fellow soldier. A small nineteen-year-old with a frail yet strong face and brown curls, Thankful is a gentle, loving, and compassionate friend. Angelic and pure of heart, he is deeply religious and shines with an inner light. Unfortunately, he is much too trusting; when betrayed, he is shocked and grieved. He conquers that...

(The entire section is 697 words.)