Edna Earle Ponder
Edna Earle Ponder, a middle-aged, unmarried woman, the last of the Ponder family. She narrates the events to a guest at the Beulah Hotel, which she was given by her Uncle Daniel fifteen years ago. She is garrulous and good-humored, and she sees herself as smart. She is also perceptive regarding people’s character. A “good Presbyterian” with a sense of civic responsibility (she runs the rummage sale held to benefit black people), she does not participate in small-town sectarian bickering. She sees Bonnie Dee for the “little thing with yellow, fluffy hair” that she is, and at Bonnie Dee’s funeral she describes Mrs. Peacock, who wears tennis shoes, as “big and fat as a row of pigs.” Generally, Edna Earle is good-natured, tolerant, and compassionate. Despite the suffering caused by the trial, she does not allow herself to become embittered. She willingly denies herself the pleasure of marriage and children to accept her role as Uncle Daniel’s caretaker.
Daniel Ponder, Edna Earle’s uncle, now in his fifties. He is a lovable, childlike man who enjoys being rich because he can give things away. He appears to have the mental equipment and emotional maturity of an eleven-or twelve-year-old. A big man with the large Ponder head, he has short, curly white hair and is always dressed in a white suit with a red bow tie and a large Stetson. Uncle Daniel loves to tell stories and loves having an audience. In effect, he is the ward of the town of Clay, and he is so obviously harmless that the charge of murder brought against him...
(The entire section is 660 words.)