I am happy to give you the "short notes" you request. Keep in mind also that with an eNotes subscription you can see all of the detailed character information on our educational website! (I have provided that link below.) That being said, here are a few things about the main characters: Joseph Koomson, The Man, Oyo, and Estella.
- Joseph Koomson - This guy is the representation of corruption in the Ghanian government after its independence. He is a completely disgusting character, and is supposed to be, growing up working on the docks has toughened him. HOWEVER, what is important to note is that he can fake a wonderful personality in order to get votes! Koomson is dispicable in that he uses bribes, materialism, and imports (only) to keep others happy. After he descends into illegal activity (evading taxes to buy a boat), he escapes prison and becomes a sad, sad story, ... still bribing his way to a safe haven.
- The Man - A very important anonymous character, the man is a clerk on the railroad in Ghana. He and his family live in poverty due to his strong morality and character. He is the direct foil of Koomson in that he is truly good. Justice is (kind of) served when Koomson is politically destroyed; however, the man still sees corruption everywhere. This saddens him.
- Oyo - Oyo is the wife of "the man." She is the voice of temptation for him, always complaining and trying to get her husband to deny his honest ways and resort to bribery. She wants to be less impoverished in any way possible. She is envious of others luxury and wants it for herself. At least Oyo comes around at the end when she sees the corrupt politicians get their comeuppance. It is only then that she is thankful for her husband's honesty.
- Estrella - SO interesting that her name means "star," and not in a good way. She is truly like a celebrity. As Koomson's wife, she epitomizes snobbery and arrogance, just like the white people who have taken over in Ghana. A true example of the new rich. She is "punished" when Koomson is apprehended. Now Estrella is forces to live a life more according to her means.