Appalachee Red is told in the folk tradition of African American storytelling. Thus, there is no central plot that develops from beginning to end but rather a number of episodes that are designed to instruct and entertain. Likewise, there is little character development, and many of the characters are types rather than complex characters in the literary sense of the term.
Appalachee Red, for example, is a larger-than-life character. He is a big man, physically, and as powerful and mysterious as he is large in physique. In fact, it may be safe to say that Red is among the most mysterious characters in African American literature, an idea that Andrews capitalizes upon in the narrative. Red is seen primarily through the narrator’s eyes. He speaks very little, a fact that adds considerably to his mystery. In addition, he is described as catlike, again a trait that adds to the power and appeal of the character. Similarly, although there are some facts of Red’s background to which readers are made privy—his real identity as the son of Little Bit Thompson and her white employer, and the fact that he served in World War II in Germany—little is told of what he did during the years leading up to his enlistment in the Army. This lapse of time contributes to the strangeness of Appalachee Red’s sudden appearance in the town of Appalachee. What does become clear upon Red’s equally mysterious departure eighteen years later is that he had revenge in...
(The entire section is 551 words.)