Pa, the father, who can read palms and tell the color of things even while blindfolded. He also plays the man initiated into an understanding of his own life during the Sundog ritual. He is the cruel schoolmaster who whips the children for their faults in spelling, the wealthy and powerful executive who is the first to die in the Dance of Death, and the grocer who pulls a customer backward and forward through time by the string attached to her parcel. He recites the poem on the Royal Visit. He plays the teacher of the writing class and the student who baby-sits for the limbless young man.
Ma, the mother, who blindfolds the child suffering from the measles. She is the lawyer at the trial of the cruel schoolmaster and the announcer of the significance of the colors at the beginning of the “color” acts. She is the waspish antisuffragist mistress of the Winnipeg boardinghouse and also a girl boarder at the same boardinghouse. She is the Wind Lady, who dances with her rain doll, and the rich young lady whose swimming pool and vacations in Antigua cannot save her from the Dance of Death.
Gramp, the grandfather, the bear who threatens to eat the small berry-picking girl. He is also James McIntyre, the Ingeroll cheese poet. He is Mr. Winemeyer, the wise sculptor hermit. He is the aggressively pedantic Professor Button, who decries religious faith but whose knowledge of languages...
(The entire section is 518 words.)