Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Heinrich “Tubby” Schaumann

Heinrich “Tubby” Schaumann (HIN-rihk SHOW-mahn), the owner of Red Bank Farm after his father-in-law’s death. As a boy, he was very overweight and a slow student, and therefore subject to ridicule. He comes to be called Tubby by the local townspeople. His dream is to live at Red Bank Farm, which he views as a kind of refuge from the cruelty of the world outside. Because he understands the feelings of an outcast, he is able to befriend young, lonely Valentina and her bitter father. Although he tries to please his parents by going away to school, Schaumann is not suited for that venture. Instead, he finds his true place and a philosophy of peaceful acceptance of his life by marrying Valentina and taking over Red Bank Farm. From this safe haven, he wants to take in the whole of human experience: His fossil hunting represents his look at history in all its depth, and his outsider position gives him a wider perspective on the community. At the end of the story, his capacity for forgiveness and humane understanding allows him to wait until after Störzer’s death to reveal that man’s identity as the true murderer of Kienbaum.


Edward, a boyhood friend of Schaumann and narrator of the story. Although he was Schaumann’s closest friend at school, he, too, was often involved in the cruel taunting that the boys aimed at...

(The entire section is 565 words.)

The Characters

(Literary Essentials: World Fiction)

The life stories of all five of the principal characters are interrelated in this carefully constructed narrative. Edward interprets this construction explicitly for the reader when he quotes the German philosopher Christian Wolff’s principle of sufficient reason: “Nothing is without a reason for its being so.” Storzer has influenced Edward’s life through his tales of faraway places, just as his accidental killing of Kienbaum made outcasts of Quakatz and his daughter and attracted Schaumann to them, eventually making Schaumann the new master of Red Bank Farm.

The two principal characters, Schaumann and Edward, provide a double perspective to the story. On one level, there is the contrast between the traveler and the one who stays at home, and on another level, there is the conflict between the conventional man (Edward) and the individual(Schaumann), who stands outside and against society. The double perspective allows the reader to understand the feeling of the outcast through Schaumann’s personal telling of his story and at the same time to see events from a certain distance through the eyes of Edward, the visitor who has since made a life for himself outside this community.

The reader gets to know the narrator mostly as a representative of society. Edward, although called an old friend of Schaumann, is actually involved in society’s guilt as well. He was perhaps not an active tormentor, but he went along with the group rather than defending young Schaumann. He, too, thought (and still thinks) of Schaumann as “Tubby.”

Schaumann lives up to his nickname. His...

(The entire section is 658 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Daemmrich, Horst S. Wilhelm Raabe, 1981.

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Field, G. Wallis. “Poetic Realists in Prose: Raabe,” in A Literary History of Germany: The Nineteenth Century, 1830-1890, 1975.

Pascal, Roy. “Wilhelm Raabe (1831-1910),” in The German Novel: Studies, 1956.

Stern, J.P. “Wilhelm Raabe: Home and Abroad,” in Idylls and Realities: Studies in Nineteenth-century Literature, 1971.