Last Updated on May 13, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 898
Mrs. Dilcie Anderson
A Methodist housewife who, although she was not present at the fight, insists she can testify, since she heard all about it from her husband.
Daisy has just moved back to town. Since her return from up North, she has emerged as the object of most men’s attention. She is a flirt who enjoys seeing the men compete for her attentions. She is a domestic servant who must work and so does not come to the trial. After the trial ends, she meets up with both Jim and Dave just out of town. First she chooses Jim and suggests they live with her employers. But when Jim declines her invitation to work as a yard man, she chooses Dave. However, Dave would rather sing and dance. In the end, she has neither man.
Marshal Lum Boger
Boger is the town Marshal. His primary duty as the play opens is to chase after the small children who play in front of Clarke’s store. He is subject to Clarke’s orders and behaves more like a servant than an officer of the law. Most people make fun of Lum.
Dave is a singer and dancer, who, with Jim, makes a living entertaining people. He is in love with Daisy. He and Jim have been friends all their lives, long before they began quarreling over Daisy. When Dave and Jim fight, Dave gets the first punches but is then hit in the head by Jim, wielding a mule bone. Dave recovers, and after Jim is found guilty and told to leave town, he searches out his friend. Although Daisy initially chooses Jim, she changes her mind and wants Dave, if he will get a job. Dave misses Jim and their entertaining. He rejects Daisy’s offer and chooses to reunite with Jim instead.
Childers is a long-time resident of the town. He is the Baptist minister and is calm and confident, willing to assume responsibility. Childers counters Simms argument at the trial and points out that a mule is kin to an ass and thus an ass bone is a weapon according to the bible.
The Mrs. Reverend Childers
Mrs. Childers is the minister’s wife. She is focused on details.
Clarke is both the mayor of the town and a storekeeper. He bought the land on which the town was built and has been mayor since its inception. When Jim hits Dave, Clarke orders him arrested and decides to try the case in the Baptist church of which he is a member. Clarke sets himself up as judge and declares Jim guilty. Clarke is disliked by the Methodists, who say that he is dishonest.
Although Clarke is the mayor and founder of the town, there is no point in the play where he is clearly in charge. He orders his wife and Lum around because they are dependent on him, but even the town ladies know Clarke can be pushed and manipulated, and no one is afraid of his authority. As an authority figure, Clarke is just a subject of ridicule.
Mrs. Mattie Clarke
Mattie is the shopkeeper’s wife. Joe sends her back in to work every time she emerges from the store. While her husband socializes on the front porch and struts his authority, Mattie is responsible for the actual running of the business.
Ada is the town tramp, whose reputation for promiscuity embarrasses her mother.
Della is Ada’s mother. She is a Baptist and considered to be a poor housekeeper.
Teets is a local girl, who was dating Jim before Daisy returned to town.
Mosely is one of the town gossips.
Nixon is one of the Methodist men.
Bootsie is a flirtatious young woman and a friend of Teets. Before Daisy came to town, Bootsie was seeing Dave.
Simms is the Methodist minister. He’s only been in town three months and is in conflict with Clarke over how the town should be run. He is aggressive and ambitious. Simms argues in court that Jim’s use of a mule bone to hit Dave does not make it an assault, since the bible says that a mule bone is not a weapon.
The Mrs. Reverend Simms
Mrs. Simms is a very large woman, the object of some jokes because of her size.
See Daisy Blunt
Thomas is a village gossip who hangs out in front of Clarke’s store.
Jim plays guitar and with his friend Dave, the two make a living as entertainers. He is in love with Daisy and in competition with Dave for her attention. When a fight breaks out, Jim grabs a mule bone and strikes Dave with it, knocking him out. He is a Methodist, somewhat arrogant, and aggressive. Jim has more talent with words than Dave, and ultimately, he is able to sweet-talk Daisy into choosing him. However, after winning Daisy, Jim realizes he does not want a career as a yard cleanup man, as she suggests. He offers to give her back to Dave, but his friend also declines to work as a laborer. Like Dave, Jim realizes that there is greater value in his lifelong friendship with his partner than there is in romancing Daisy.