Pin, a teenage boy. Living alone with an older sister, he is streetwise, rebellious, and apparently self-assured. The thin and fragile appearance of his body are in sharp contrast with his deep, gravelly voice, with which he delights in hurling insults to everyone. Both his appearance and his attitude embody the image of the street urchin. Beneath his independent façade, however, he is a child very much in need of guidance and affection. All of his actions in the novel are prompted by his self-acknowledged desire not to be ignored any longer by the adult world he so longs to be a part of and to understand. His daring theft of a German soldier’s gun, an escape from prison, and his adventures with a group of partisan rebels are the escapades in which Pin involves himself, in what is his search for friendship and acceptance. Only with a true friend will he share his greatest secret, the place where spiders make their nests.
Cousin, a partisan. Disenchanted and hardened by the war, he speaks with indifference about killing the enemy: For him, it has become almost routine, a duty that he must carry out. Patriotic fervor and enthusiasm seem, in this man, to have been replaced by weariness and disillusionment. His true enemies, however, are women, toward whom he feels bitter and antagonistic. Not only does he blame them for his own unhappiness, he also accuses them of being the cause of all evil, including war....
(The entire section is 534 words.)