Just Above My Head Additional Characters

James Baldwin

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Hall Montana

Hall Montana, a black show business promoter. Hall had served as his brother Arthur’s manager until Arthur’s death at the age of thirty-nine. Tall, slim, and handsome, at the age of forty-eight, two years after Arthur’s death, Hall is still trying to reconcile himself to his brother’s life and his death in a London pub. Hall is sensitive, reflective, reflexive, and perceptive, and in piecing together his brother’s life he comes to realize more about himself and about life in general. He calls the story that he narrates “a love song to my brother.” Arthur Montana, sometimes referred to as “The Soul Emperor,” a world-renowned gospel singer. An active homosexual, he has a number of affairs, principally with Crunch, a member of the Trumpets of Zion quartet, of which they were both members as teenagers; Guy Lazar, a Parisian gentleman; and Jimmy Miller, four years his junior, who became his last lover. Arthur is quiet and sensitive. Although he feels some guilt about his homosexuality, he becomes quite a realist and accepts his lifestyle. His unhappiness and heavy drinking lead to his death from a stroke in a London pub while on tour at the age of thirty-nine.

Julia Miller

Julia Miller, a child evangelist turned model. Thirty-nine years old, slim, sleek, and beautiful, with a disarming, childlike smile, Julia was called to preach at the age of seven and remained in the pulpit until she was fourteen. Soon after her mother dies, she is seduced by her father and has a continuous affair with him until she becomes pregnant from a one-night affair with Crunch and is beaten mercilessly by her father. After losing the baby, Julia is sent to New Orleans to her grandmother. She is “discovered” while working as a waitress and becomes a top model. After a brief affair with Hall Montana, Julia goes to Africa as the mistress of an Abijan chieftain. She eventually returns to New York and purchases a house in Yonkers.

Jimmy Miller

Jimmy Miller, Julia’s younger brother, a pianist and Arthur Montana’s last lover. Jimmy is quiet, sensitive, and precocious. Never having gotten along with his father, he is sent to his grandmother in New Orleans after his mother’s death. He becomes Arthur’s accompanist while Arthur is on a tour of the South during the Civil Rights movement. They later fall in love and spend many happy years together, both in America and in Europe, until Arthur’s untimely death during one of their stormier episodes. Jimmy continues to wander throughout Europe, loving and missing Arthur, before finally returning to New York to the house he now shares with his sister.

Joel Miller

Joel Miller, Julia and...

(The entire section is 1122 words.)