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.

Outer characterization

His outer characterization reveals that he owns the only butcher’s shop in town, together with Jim Baxter. At the shop, he is the one who does the butcher’s job. Also, he owns a gun and chews tobacco. He is also married to a woman who often gets “the chills and fever”. However, almost nothing is said about his physical traits.

Also, he is chosen to be the first one to shoot Will Maxie.

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 hi...

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