Calpurnia Virginia Tate, or Callie Vee
Eleven-year-old Calpurnia is the main character of the novel, which is written from her perspective. The middle child sandwiched between six brothers, Callie has grown up being bullied, teased, loved, and rough-housed by her brothers. As a result, she is a bit of a tomboy and does not enjoy feminine pursuits. A love of science and exploring bonds her to her grandfather, who also loves experimenting and who bestows great scientific wisdom upon her. Although her mother would have her be a demure, housekeeping lady, Callie resists her efforts to domesticate her at every turn. Callie shows the depth of her character in her alarming as she realizes that she is slated for a life of a wife, mother, and domestic servant, which goes against everything she wants to do. Through Callie’s character, the author showcases the societal expectations of women at the time and the burgeoning field of science and exploration.
Walter Tate, or Grandfather
Aged, retired, and referred to as Grandfather throughout the entire novel, Grandfather is the head of the Tate family who spends his days conducting scientific experiments and collecting specimens for observation in laboratory. Grandfather plays a hands-off role in the family routines at the farm, instead focusing his efforts on his own pursuits. He is distant, uninvolved, and a bit gruff. The Tate grandchildren find him intimidating and frightening. Only Calpurnia ventures to build a relationship with him, and she is greatly rewarded. He patiently teaches her about science, allowing her to follow him around and pester him with question after question. Grandfather is excited about new technologies and new discoveries.
Callie’s mother is a woman desperately attempting to impose civilization, propriety, manners, and gentility on a family of rowdy children in the middle of Texas. She has strict rules about being at the dinner table on time, how you conduct yourself in public, and...
(The entire section is 839 words.)