Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Lucious Priest, an innocent eleven-year-old. When his parents and grandfather leave town to attend a funeral, he goes with Boon on a wild adventure to Memphis. Boon takes him to Miss Reba’s brothel and then to Parsham and a racetrack. He becomes terribly sad, hungry, desperate, and homesick while waiting to return home. He tells this story in 1961, as a man of sixty-one years who does not feel the confusion and pain he felt at the time. He gives an incredible and detailed account of the events that transpired. The boy learns many things during this adventure, at the heart of which are the forces of good and evil. He learns that nothing is entirely good or bad, but that everything contains strains of each. In the process of his adventure, he passes out of childhood and becomes an adult. Throughout the dilemmas and trials he faces, he always wonders what he should do and what a gentleman would do. No matter how homesick he becomes, it is his point of honor to act like a man and not show that he wants to cry. He is at odds with the things he has been taught as a child as he sees older people who do not act reasonably. The one thing Lucious knows with certainty is that a person should never lie or make promises he is unable to keep. His confession in the end is not about the trip to Memphis or risking the safety of the automobile; it is that he lied about helping Aunt Callie keep the other children. He intends to take the punishment he deserves from his father, but when the time comes, his father knows that a whipping is no longer in order for Lucious. He has been through a greater ordeal than a whipping could cover. The grandfather...
(The entire section is 682 words.)
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