Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Thomas Rhodes, the president of the bank and the town’s most influential citizen. Like the other characters, he is dead and telling his story from a graveyard. A deacon of the town’s most prestigious church, he also owned the town store. Under his mismanagement, the bank was ruined, destroying many lives. Although others went to prison, political and social influence allowed Rhodes to plea bargain for an acquittal. When he believed the store manager was stealing blankets to pay his daughter’s medical bills, Rhodes hounded him mercilessly. He was a petty, arrogant, self-righteous tyrant who believed that the wealthy deserve rights denied to the poor.
Coolbaugh Whedon, the editor of the Argus, Spoon River’s conservative newspaper. He served the business interests of the community and admitted to perverting truth for a purpose and accepting money for supporting political candidates. He would publish scandal and crush reputations for business or revenge, or simply to sell more papers. His view of life was negative. From his grave by the river that others find beautiful, he sees only a place where sewage flows, garbage is dumped, and abortions are hidden.
Benjamin Pantier, an attorney, a powerful and strong individual until his wife drove him out of their home. He was then reduced to living in a small room behind his office with his dog, Nig. His wife, who ironically is known only as Mrs. Benjamin Pantier, loathed him for his drinking and his common nature. The two held opposite views on almost every issue. She was the head of the Social Purity Club, which sought to eliminate drinking, gambling, and horse racing. He enjoyed the saloon and its pleasant camaraderie. Separately, each did good for the community. She campaigned for women’s suffrage, and he helped many people in the courtroom. It was...
(The entire section is 791 words.)
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