The most important character in the short story “The Waste Land” by Alan Paton is the old man from whose point of view the events are rendered. Additionally, the young men who want to rob him function as a collective character. 

The old man

Most of the outer and inner characterisation of the old man in the short story is done indirectly, through his actions and thoughts, and many times it is only suggestive of his traits and not directly informative.

Outer characterisation

For instance, his outer characterisation is suggested through references to a “heavy stick”  which implies he is old and the final mention that he is the father of one of the thieves. Also, we can assume the man is a black African due to the mention regarding the “idiom of his own language” , which is probably a tribe dialect.

Also, as the man realises that he is about to be robbed, he thinks of his wife and children which means that he is a married, probably working-class man: “His wife could be made a widow, his children made f...

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