Who are the characters in Oliver Optic's Rich and Humble?

Expert Answers
laurniko eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of characters in Rich and Humble, including Bertha, Richard, Mr. Grant, Mr. Grayle, and Mr. Sherwood. Each of them has an impact on Bertha at some point during the story.

Bertha is the protagonist of the story. After her home and her family are taken from her by Mr. Grayle, she sets out to prove their innocence and reclaim her home and fortune. She is honorable, dignified, intelligent, and kind. She's very loyal to her family and believes in her father's innocence. Through her actions, the family is able to regain their former wealth.

Richard is Bertha's brother. He's a trial to the entire family. He drinks, creates problems, and can't be trusted. He's reckless—even at the end of the book, he isn't reformed. 

Mr. Franklin Grant is a loving father who mourns his deceased wife. He goes to jail for fraud, even though he is innocent. When Mr. Grayle accuses him of fraud, he gives him the deed to Woodhill while he raises the money to pay him back—even though he isn't obliged to. He does it so others won't question his honor.

Mr. Samuel Grayle is the man who frames Mr. Grant and takes over Woodhill, the Grants' home. He blames Mr. Grant for a deal that went bad and accuses him of fraud. When Mr. Grant gives him the bill to Woodhill as collateral, he sends the police to arrest Mr. Grant and takes possession of the estate.

Noddy Nodderson is an orphan who lives in the Hollow. He takes care of himself but is wild, disreputable, and prone to trouble. 

Master Charley is the young child at Blue Hill, where Bertha works as a governess. He is a difficult and spoiled child.

Mrs. Byron is the mistress of Blue Hill and Master Charley's mother. She fires Bertha when she discovers that her last name is Grant, not Loring, and that her father is in jail for fraud.

Peter is the head groom at Blue Hill. He offers Bertha a place to stay when she loses her job as a governess. 

Mr. Sherwood is Mr. Grant's clerk. He sleeps at the office in New York City and has proof of Mr. Grant's innocence. He tells Bertha he's waiting to get the evidence before the court and staying in the office to protect it all in the meantime.