We have two groups of characters in the story:
the one group represents the traditional tribal traditions:
Wamuhu and her parents
the other group represents Western and christian/ calvinist values:
Stanley and his wife Susanna

Our protagonist John doesn`t belong to either of these groups. He is basicly caught between cultures.

John:
On the outside John is a good educated, polite young Christian man with high morality standards and a sense for the traditional culture of "his" tribe.
His inside looks quite different: he was brought up in a Calvinistic manner by his father Stanley, who never shows the slightest affection for his son. The strong Calvinist father doesn't allow him social contact to the people in the village, because he fears them to distract his son of his plans of going to university.
John is torn between his Calvinistic upbringing and his sense for the tribal traditions. He is alienated from both. This conflict robs his identity because he doesn’t know where he belongs to. He is unable to feel his own feelings or to do what he wants, because he always lived for someone’s expectations.
These feelings of being turned between two cultures, leads to a conflict: At the end of the story you can see him struggling with the upcoming craziness in which he kills his girlfriend Wamuhu - a girl from the tribe - because she was pregnant of him. He never could develop himself; he was a product of his father and the tribe. At the very end he can no longer be considered a member of either the Christian or the tribe.


Stanley:
Stanley, father of John, is a clergyman. He converted to Calvinism when he already had a son. This sin (having sexual contact before marriage) follows him his whole life. The Calvinism destroyed him and his family; He is a strict, almost tyrannical clergyman. We don’t know if he is still able to feel affection for anyone: he even calls his wife "sister".
The relationship to his son is a very bad one. His son fears him and Stanley has never shown him positive feelings. Actually he is always putting his son under pressure; as a result John is a product of his father and not of himself. Stanley is feared by all, but is his heart he is a coward, who covers his actions under the blanket of the bible.


Susanna:
Susanna is the mother of John. She plays the affectionate counterpart („dramatic foil") to the strict father. In the story her role is to give the reader information’s about Stanley's past.


Wamuhu:
Wamuhu is gilf from the village, probably the most beautiful one. She is the secret girlfriend of John and became pregnant. She is not educated but would like to be, although she was brought up in a very traditional tribal way. She is circumcised like the other villagegirls.
She doesnt play a big role, but she is a strong character: she is clear about her feelings for John. She expects him to tell his parents of her pregnancy and that he will marry her.



Wamhuh's parents: are one of the old traditional tribemembers of the village. They are suspicious of the new religion the white men brought them and they see that the "tribe had crumbled".