Characters

The most important characters in the short story “Saturday Afternoon” by Erskine Caldwell are Tom Denny, Jim Baxter, Will Maxie and the collective character of the white men who kill Will Maxie. Most of the characters illustrate attitudes to racism and violence, and none of them develops as a result of the plot.

Tom Denny

Tom Denny is one of the main characters in the short story, whose perspective we assume the narrator relies on to render the events. He is a flat character as he does not change throughout the story.

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Inner characterization

Tom’s inner characterization is constructed throughout the story based on his motives, attitude, and actions.

Initially, he comes across as a rather sloppy person because he does not concern himself with the improper conditions he keeps the meat in. Furthermore, he even sleeps and spits on it:

The tobacco juice splattered on the floor midway between the meat block and cigar box. What little of it dripped on the piece of rump steak did not really matter: most people cleaned their meat before they cooked and ate it...

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Jim Baxter

Jim Baxter is another important flat character in the short story, and his characterization is most probably rendered from Tom’s perspective.

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Inner characterization

His inner characterization only presents his attitude towards Will Maxie, showing that he is racist and as eager to get Will as Tom is:

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Will Maxie

Will Maxie is a secondary character in the short story and his role is that of the victim. His characterization is most probably also rendered from Tom’s perspective...

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Inner characterization

The man’s inner characterization presents him as “a pretty smart Negro” and “a pretty good Negro too”. He has a hardworking character and ingenuity when it came to cultivating cotton:

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The white men

The collective character of the white men is relevant in terms of the racist and violent attitudes they display. Upon finding out that a black man has allegedly spoken to a white woman in town,...

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