Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Mr. Zero

Mr. Zero, a small, thin, sallow, and partially bald man in his late forties or early fifties. For twenty-five years, he has worked as a bookkeeper in a large department store, where he adds up the day’s receipts after arranging sales figures in columns. For his dedicated work, he expects a raise, not having received one in seven years, but instead he learns that he is to be replaced by an adding machine. His mind is preoccupied with figures, and he reveals all the prejudices of the lower middle class, though by temperament he is stolid and subdued. He is a henpecked husband, and his marriage leaves much to be desired. For diversion, he peers at a scantily clad prostitute who lives in a nearby apartment until his wife forces him to report her to the police. Following his execution for murdering the Boss, he comes to understand that he has a slave mentality and temperament that he will never escape.

Mrs. Zero

Mrs. Zero, Mr. Zero’s wife for twenty-five years. She is forty-five years old, unkempt, and shapeless, with graying hair. A chronic complainer and gossipy housewife, she amuses herself with Western and romantic films. She nags Zero constantly for his lack of ambition and possesses attitudes of petty bourgeois respectability.

Daisy Diana Dorothea Devore

Daisy Diana Dorothea Devore, a plain, middle-aged woman. She is Zero’s assistant bookkeeper and calls out figures for him to write down. Like Zero, she wears a green eyeshade and paper sleeve protectors while working. Her affection for Zero is masked by her quarrelsome nature. She is chronically unhappy and talks of suicide, an act she carries out after Zero’s execution. In the...

(The entire section is 708 words.)