Characters

The Characters

(Literary Essentials: African American Literature)

Fernie May Rosen, the central character of “Fern,” is beautiful but unhappy. She is the illegitimate daughter of a black woman and a white Jewish man, and she is thus doubly a social outsider. She spends most of her days listlessly sitting on the porch of her rural Georgia home, the languid object of many men’s desires. Her remoteness and sexual indifference lead her many lovers to abandon her, but they remain forever under her spell and bring her gifts as signs of their adoration.

In “Blood-Burning Moon,” Tom Burwell is portrayed as a gentle introvert. When he is frustrated by his inability to express his feelings for Louisa, however, he flies into a rage, leading to the story’s tragic conclusion.

...

(The entire section is 297 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Fernie May Rosen

Fernie May Rosen, the beautiful, unhappy daughter of a black mother and a white Jewish father. She spends most days listlessly sitting on the porch of her rural Georgia home. She is the object of men’s desires. Her remote indifference leads men to abandon her, but ironically they remain under her spell and bring her gifts as signs of their adoration.

Tom Burwell

Tom Burwell, a black field hand competing with a white man for the attentions of Louisa, a black woman working for his rival’s family. A gentle introvert, Tom cannot express his feelings to Louisa. In a rage, he kills her other lover, and he is lynched by a white mob.

Paul Johnson...

(The entire section is 263 words.)