Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Rosalie (Rosie) Fleming

Rosalie (Rosie) Fleming, a young black woman driven by her need for love and escape from her ghetto beginnings. During her childhood, the father she adores abandons the family, leaving Rosie with her mother, whom she cannot fully love because she partially blames her for the father’s desertion. Rosie turns to her grandmother for solace and love, and her needs go unmet. Instead, Rosie’s sense of inadequacy increases; she cannot match her grandmother’s romanticized vision of white people, whom the grandmother idolizes, mimics, and serves as a live-in domestic. At an early age, Rosie learns to despise herself and her roach-infested home, which cannot compare to the immaculate, fairy-tale image presented in her grandmother’s stories about whites. Once she is old enough, Rosie leaves school and doggedly trudges toward her warped dream. After she is physically worn and wasted, Rosie finally questions all that she has worked for and believed.

Lourinda Baxter Huggs

Lourinda Baxter Huggs, Rosie’s grandmother. She is a devoted servant and admirer of her white employers. Of Southern origins and Creole heritage, Lourinda reveres the chivalric idea of a noble South with benevolent white masters and happy black servants who know and relish their place. After decades of service to a white family, Lourinda considers her employers more her family than she does her own daughter and granddaughter, who...

(The entire section is 488 words.)