"In the Heat of the Night" by John Ball - Character Notes

1749 Words Nov 22nd, 2006 7 Pages
Main Characters:

Sam Wood is the protagonist in the story because the story starts off with him driving around Wells, and he was the one who discovered Mr. Mantoli's body. On page two, it says, "He slipped the car into gear and moved it away from the curb with the professional smoothness of an expert driver." This quote shows how Sam is an expert driver. Another quote on page thirty nine, "Sam reached up and removed his uniform cap ashamed that he had forgotten to do so until now. I'm terribly sorry to have to bring you this news." This quote describes how Sam is a sensitive person internally. In addition, Sam Wood hates to be called Sam and rather be called Mr. Wood. Sam has been a police officer for three years, (pg.2) and is a night
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Virgil Tibbs could be described as a secondary protagonist. Virgil is round because he has many sides to his nature. He is static because he does not change or grow and is the same sort of person throughout the story. And he is realistic because he shows many human characteristics.

Bill Gillespie is the chief of police in the city of Wells (pg.10) and has only been chief and a Wells resident for only nine weeks. (pg.11) Bill is six feet four and the author gives us the idea that he is a big, tough, confident, and determined character. For example, on page 11, it says "His forcefulness cost him the girl he wanted to marry, and swept away many obstacles as though they had never existed." Bill Gillespie had abundant confidence in his own ability to meet whatever challenges thrown at him; despite he was only thirty-two. (pg.11) He gets annoyed when people tell him what to do. (pg.13) Bill is educated because he went to a police school in Texas. (pg.11) Bill is quick to make decisions and he does not like to admit his mistakes. He is bad tempered, demanding and rude. On page 27, it says, "He shaved, put some deodorant under his armpits in lieu of a shower, rebrushed his hair, and drove back through the morning traffic to the police station." This quote shows that he is aware of his physical presentation. His internal conflict is being extremely racist to black people.