Characters - The Black Madonna

Lou Parker
Lou is a women of about 37 years. Together with her husband Ray she has everything she needs, except one, a child. Not that they wouldn't get along without a child, they are a “modern” couple, with lots of friends and they are indeed helpful and nice. Lou sends one pound a week to her widow sister, which has eight children, besides she does a lot of church work and joins all the unions except the “Mothers union”. On the surface Lou Parker seems to be a nice, open minded and selfless women, but inside she turns to be snobbish and selfish. Her facade breaks with the birth of her black child, and behind this facade we get to know the real Lou Parker.

Raymond Parker
Raymond is just like his wife a hypocritical person, he is introducing their new black “friends” just in order to show that they are not racists and that they are open minded. Raymond seems to be less snobbish than Lou, but like his wife he is selfish. Neither he nor his wife seem to like their child and both want to give it away only because it is black.

Elizabeth is Lou´s sister, a widow with eight children. And especially one, the eldest Henry makes her a lot of problems. Even though Lou sends one pound a week to Elizabeth, we can see that Lou has no interest and space for her poor sister, even though Lou does not need it, she stops sending money to her sister after getting pregnant for her self.
When Raymond finds pills next to Elizabeth´s bed, he thinks that Elizabeth uses contraceptives and he and Lou call her a bad catholic. Not seeing who really are the bad Catholics.

Henry Pierce / Oxford St. John
The two Jamaicans are not so much interesting as persons but in the function of at first showing Lou´s and Raymond's tolerant and modern lifestyle, and later they have the function of making the Parker´s snobbishness and hypocrisy visible.

Henry and Oxford get into the story as Ray´s new working-mates, the Parkers get to know them and introduce them to all their friends. While Henry is an well educated, young man who was brought up in a catholic background, his mate Oxford is more common how Lou says. With the time the two Jamaicans get very near to Lou and Ray, when Henry gets sick, Lou prays to the black Madonna for Henry´s cure and her prayers are answered. After a while Lou starts feeling uncomfortable about Oxford and she again prays to the black Madonna and her prayers are answered again.

Tina Farrell
In the beginning of the story Tina calls the two Jamaicans naively “darkies” , we might think that she is racist and intolerant, that she is the opposite of the Parkers. But as far the story goes on we see that the Parkers are not so different from Tina in their thoughts. Only that Tina does not hide her personality behind a facade. In the end we actually get to know that Tina is far better in her heart than Lou and Raymond, when she expresses that Lou´s baby is cute, and that she would love to take it, if she could afford (p. 163/ l. 18).
( Antonia)