30 pages 1 hour read

Ray Bradbury

The Other Foot

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1951

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Character Analysis

Hattie Johnson

Hattie is the thoughtful protagonist. At the beginning of the story, she is relatively passive, even reactive, but seizes her own agency by the end. She runs around trying to find things out, then allows her husband to order her about and goes along with his revenge plan despite her clear objections to it. Only when she is confronted with Willie’s continued hatred in the face of the white man’s plea for help does she head off the impending violence.

Hattie is the point-of-view character from the moment she appears in “The Other Foot” until Paragraph 204, when the reader is suddenly moved into Willie’s mind. Hattie resumes being the point-of-view character more when Willie drops the rope, and her perspective colors much of the story. It is Hattie who characterizes Willie as revenge-seeking; she views Willie’s expression as “a wide, mean smile, and his eyes were mad” (Paragraph 59). Hattie heightens the tension and the ominousness of Willie’s impending revenge; she describes the rope as a “long thick hairy rope coil” and notes that Willie watches the sky while making the noose without looking down at his hands, as if hatred comes so naturally to him that he doesn’t need to see what he’s doing (Paragraph 71).