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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 540

Aladdin Aladdin is a party guest who is known for his gift-giving and for treating his friends to parties and meals, despite the deteriorating economic situation.

Blue-faced AnnSee Nursy

Abel Cornelius Professor Abel Cornelius is the 47–year-old patriarch of the family, and the story is revealed through his perspective....

(The entire section contains 540 words.)

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Aladdin
Aladdin is a party guest who is known for his gift-giving and for treating his friends to parties and meals, despite the deteriorating economic situation.

Blue-faced Ann
See Nursy

Abel Cornelius
Professor Abel Cornelius is the 47–year-old patriarch of the family, and the story is revealed through his perspective. He is a history professor who finds great personal satisfaction in preparing lectures. He is a devoted father to his four children, especially Ellie, whom he calls ‘‘Eleonorchen’’ and ‘‘childie.’’ Contrasted to this is his appraisal of his older son, Bert, who he believes lacks motivation and intellect in comparison to some of Bert’s friends. The Professor dislikes the party but makes a stilted appearance, addressing the guests with a well rehearsed sentence and showing a ‘‘mechanical smile.’’ Despite his fascination with history and its ‘‘truth,’’ he is himself a phony and puts up a facade to conceal his feelings. He is judgmental of artists and dislikes modern art.

Bert Cornelius
Bert, the Professor’s 17-year-old son, wears an elaborate hair style and trendy clothing like the house servant, Xaver. He wants to be a dancer or actor at the local club, the Cairo, much to his father’s displeasure. Like Ingrid, he delights in deceiving people by loudly telling false stories on the bus or making prank telephone calls.

Ellie Cornelius
Ellie is the Professor’s five-year-old daughter, who has captured his full attention and affection. She calls her father by his first name, Abel. She likes to play games with the kitchen staff and her father. At the party she becomes infatuated with Max and throws a crying tantrum because Max is not her brother. She knows her nursery rhymes and songs better than her brother Snapper; she often plays the teacher to Snapper’s student and instructs him in the names of birds and diseases. If he gets things wrong, she makes him stand in the corner or she hits him. She is described as frail and birdlike. She is concerned with her appearance and does not like the way she looks. Her father teases her about her asymmetrical ears, which she tries to keep covered with her hair.

Ingrid Cornelius
Ingrid is the Professor’s 18-year-old daughter. She is a student preparing for exams for a certificate that she will never use. She is manipulative ‘‘because she knows how to wind masters, and even headmasters, round her finger,’’ and deceptive. She likes to make harassing phone calls and tell loud, obnoxious stories with her brother while riding the bus.

Mother Cornelius
Mother Cornelius has been ‘‘broken and worn’’ by her housekeeping chores, but still maintains her control over the daily routines of the house. She agonizes over the mundane things in their lives: the price of eggs and the devaluation of the currency, but from a practical rather than a philosophic standpoint. She attends to Snapper, especially trying to calm his tantrums.

Snapper Cornelius
Snapper is the Professor’s four-year-old son and Ellie’s brother, who often tries to make himself look older and more masculine. He throws angry fits in order to get attention from his mother and Nursy. He worries about his moral imperfections and believes that he will go to ‘‘the bad place.’’

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