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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 244

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Characters Discussed

Clarence Day, Sr.

Clarence Day, Sr., a domestic tyrant, critical, quick-tempered, and eccentric, who dominates his family, but not completely. Father (“Clare” to his wife) is a loud groaner when he himself is ill, but he has little sympathy with others’ illnesses. Since he is a systematic businessman, he cannot understand his wife’s dislike of figures and the keeping of household accounts. Companionable and popular with his chosen friends, he is dictatorial toward people he does not like. He enjoys his family despite all the complaints he makes about them.

Mrs. Clarence (Vinnie) Day

Mrs. Clarence (Vinnie) Day, his wife, who puts up with Father’s tantrums, sometimes ignoring them, at other times countering with scorn and illogic to exasperate and often defeat her noisy mate.

Clarence Day, Jr.

Clarence Day, Jr., the narrator, the nearsighted oldest son, who as a child suffers the misfortune of the name Clarence, vainly tries to play the violin, and is alternately entertained and frightened by Father’s many explosions.


Margaret, cook in the Day household for twenty-six years.


George and


Julian, younger brothers of Clarence, Jr.

Herr M.

Herr M., Clarence Jr.’s violin teacher.

Cousin Julie

Cousin Julie, Mrs. Day’s favorite niece, who lives with the Days after finishing school.

Miss Edna Gulick

Miss Edna Gulick, conductor of a current-events class attended by Mrs. Day.


Delia, a temporary cook who is quickly dismissed after Father complains about her.




Critical Essays