(Short Stories for Students)

The Prisoners
Underneath his all-green golf course, Braddock Washington has imprisoned two dozen aviators who had the misfortune to discover his property. They are a spirited bunch, shouting curses and defiant insults at Washington when he stops by for a visit but also trying to talk him into releasing them. When they hear that one of their number managed to escape, they dance and sing in celebration.

John T. Unger
John T. Unger is a young man from the town of Hades, “a small town on the Mississippi River.” His family is affluent, but not as fabulously wealthy as the other families whose sons attend the exclusive St. Midas School.

He is more sentimental than the ultra-narcissistic Washingtons (when he parts with his father to leave for school, there are “tears streaming from his eyes,”) but his blind adoration of wealth and the wealthy reveal him to be almost as shallow. The few early misgivings he has about the Washingtons are quickly swept away by his hedonistic enjoyment of their riches.

He tells Percy, “The richer a fella is, the better I like him.” He repeatedly brings up the Schnlitzer-Murphys, a very wealthy family he visited one Easter, describing their jewels and quoting Mr. Schnlitzer-Murphy. When John falls in love with Kismine, their relationship has all the maturity of two ten-year-olds at play. John’s love for Kismine is based on her physical perfection: “He was critical about women. A single defect—a thick ankle, a hoarse voice, a glass eye—was enough to make him utterly indifferent.”

Even after seeing the men Braddock Washington has imprisoned, John does not seem overly concerned. It is not until he learns that he himself will be murdered to prevent his revealing the Washingtons’ secrets that John becomes outraged.

Braddock Washington
The patriarch of the Washington family and the most extreme example of its arrogance and self-importance, Braddock Washington is a...

(The entire section is 830 words.)