When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? Characters

Mark Medoff

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Stephen “Red” Ryder

Stephen “Red” Ryder, the graveyard clerk at a restaurant. A small, plain, nineteen-year-old man with brown hair, Stephen dresses in the style of the 1950’s and has a tattoo on his arm that reads “Born Dead.” Intense and unhappy, he feels stifled by the small New Mexico town in which he lives and has elaborate dreams of leaving, but he feels responsible for his ill mother. His dissatisfaction with his life is reflected in his negative relationships with others. His association with the cowboy hero Red Ryder serves to magnify his inability to mold his own life.


Angel, the daytime waitress. In her early twenties, Angel is overweight and plain. She lives with her mother and grandmother, and her life revolves around them, her job, and nights spent watching television with Lyle. She obviously cares about Stephen, and his departure at the end of the play is a devastating event in her life. Simple, sweet-natured, and vulnerable, she is a sympathetic character in the midst of the violence of the play.

Lyle Striker

Lyle Striker, the owner of the local gas station and motel. Lyle, who is in his sixties, has a brace on one knee and walks with a crutch as the result of a stroke. None of this is a sign of weakness, however, and he remains an active and attractive man. He engages in a friendly rivalry with Stephen and has some feelings for Angel. Straightforward...

(The entire section is 573 words.)