The characters of The Sport of the Gods are a mixture of stereotypes and innovative new characters. The Oakleys, the primary white characters in the text, are mostly stereotypical Southerners who value family name and image above all else. Maurice Oakley is somewhat unusual because he welcomes the Reconstruction period and sees it as an opportunity to recoup the wealth lost in the Civil War. His half brother Francis is also a stereotypical dilettante southern artist typical of post-Civil War fiction. His artistic talent is sacrificed in order to fulfill his sensual nature, and he spends his money on a Parisian mistress instead of his art.
The Hamilton family presents a more interesting group of characters. Berry Hamilton is the stereotypically loyal servant until he is accused of stealing money from his employers. He then begins to express some of the more radical sentiments concerning racial relations often found in African American novels of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Likewise, his passive nature is changed into an active one after he is released from prison. When he discovers that his wife has remarried during his incarceration, he decides that he will murder the second husband, an action that the old Berry would never have contemplated.
The Hamilton children also represent significant departures from the characters typically represented in turn-of-the-century novels. Joe Hamilton might be considered a stock character from a...
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