The Hoosier Schoolmaster

by Edward Eggleston

Start Free Trial


Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 458

Characters Discussed

Ralph Hartsook

Ralph Hartsook, the schoolmaster at Flat Creek, Indiana. He makes a place for himself in the community until his enemies accuse him of being a thief. He escapes a mob and gives himself up to the authorities. He is tried and found innocent. Being a friendly and democratic man, he tries to help everyone. He falls in love with Hannah, a hired girl, and marries her.

Hannah Thomson

Hannah Thomson, the “bound girl” at the Means home. She defeats the schoolmaster in a spelling bee. He falls in love with her and marries her.

Bud Means

Bud Means, one of the older pupils in Ralph’s school. He becomes the schoolmaster’s friend. Chagrined when he is ignored by Martha Hawkins, he falls in with evil companions, but he saves himself and tries to help the schoolmaster.

Martha Hawkins

Martha Hawkins, daughter of the local squire. She is in love with bashful Bud.

Dr. Small

Dr. Small, a thief. He is Ralph’s enemy and tries to lay his crime upon the schoolmaster’s head. At Ralph’s trial, he incriminates himself and is later hanged for his misdeeds.

Pete Jones

Pete Jones, Dr. Small’s accomplice. He tries to lay the blame for the robbery on Mr. Pearson, an honest man. He and his brother are sent to prison as punishment for their part in the robbery.

Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson, another of Dr. Small’s accomplices. He is Ralph’s cousin. He turns out to be a religious man who cannot keep his crime hidden. He turns state’s evidence and goes unpunished.

Shocky Thomson

Shocky Thomson, Hannah’s young brother.

Bill Means

Bill Means, Bud’s brother, one of Ralph’s pupils.

Granny Sander

Granny Sander, a gossipy woman who spreads evil rumors about Ralph.

Mirandy Means

Mirandy Means, sister of Bud and Bill. Infatuated with the schoolmaster, she tries to come between Ralph and Hannah.

Mrs. Means

Mrs. Means, mother of Mirandy, Bud, and Bill. She testifies against Ralph at the robbery trial to spite him for spurning Mirandy.

Mr. Pearson

Mr. Pearson, a basketmaker who took in Shocky when his blind mother went to the poorhouse. He is an honest man wrongly accused of the theft.

Mrs. Matilda White

Mrs. Matilda White, Ralph Hartsook’s aunt. She refuses to take in the unfortunate Mrs. Thomson.

Miss Nancy Sawyer

Miss Nancy Sawyer, Ralph’s hometown friend, who takes in Shocky to prevent his being found out.

Mrs. Thomson

Mrs. Thomson, Hannah and Shocky’s mother, a poor but honest widow who is blind and who is finally forced to go to the poorhouse. Later, she is able to make a home for Shocky again through the kindness of Nancy Sawyer.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access