Characterisation of Mr. Mumsford Essay

426 WordsDec 16, 20122 Pages
The short story “Mr. Mumsford”, written by Larry French deals with Ralph Mumsford, who wants to kill the principal, because everyone at the school calls him “Bibs” instead of his real name. Ralph Mumsford is a janitor at the southern school. He is six feet tall and black skinned (line 14). He has been working as a janitor for twenty-seven years at this school (line 4 and 5) and at his first day he has worn a pair of old bib overalls (line 16). This shows that he hasn't got a lot of money and it is also the reason why everyone calls him Bibs. This makes clear that Mr. Mumsford isn't respected by the peopleat the school at all. He is described as a not particularly intelligent man (line 2) and it also comes clear that he is from a lower stratum of society, because he uses wrong grammar and colloquial terms. For example in line 18 where he says: “ Onliest person knows my real name is that woman signs my check...” or in line 20: “Hell, I know more'n half of their names...”. It is a little difficult to analyse the behaviour of Mr. Mumsford, because on the one hand he seems to be a bit aggressive, because he wants to kill the principal (line 15). Moreover he killed a rabbit for supper when he was a child and he never felt guilty for that (line 1-4). On the other hand he is also easily influenced, because in the end of the story the principal convinced him not to kill him while saying: “Say lookee here, if I promise me and all my teachers call you by your real name from now on, will you not kill me?” (line 31/32). He is also a really carrying person: he knows half of the names of the students (line 20) and he cares about the principal and his family. You can see that in line 36 where he says: “ You been working too many hours. A Christian man ought to always eat the supper meal with his wife.” So all in all I would say that the character of Ralph Mumsford

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