1. a) Michael Foster – “a tall, long-legged, eager young fellow” Michael is a newspaper reporter for the town newspaper, the Examiner. He becomes fishing buddies with K. Smith (Smitty), but doesn’t associate with him in front of other people. b) Mr. Ted Bagley – Mr. Bagley is a spatulate-fingered man who owns Bagley’s hotel. c) K. Smith (nicknamed Smitty) – “A mild, harmless-looking little guy” Smitty is a lightly-built man with greying hair; described as polite and unthreatening by Mr. Bagley. He is employed as a hangman and the townspeople hate him for it. He has a wife and five children, and becomes friends with Michael while fishing with him. d) Thomas Delaney – A man charged and hanged to death for the murder of Matthew Rhineheart. He had caught the man molesting his wife, and there was a violent struggle between the two men and he killed Rhineheart. e) Matthew Rhineheart – Thomas Delaney’s wife had been out berry picking when she was molested by Matthew Rhineheart. The old man, Rhineheart, was killed by Delaney after giving him a bad beating. f) Henry Steadman – “a squat, heavy man”
Henry is the town sheriff; a stout man with a long mustache.
2. The reporter, Michael, has a pre-conceived idea that the hangman shouldn’t be such a small, frail-looking man. He is almost unbelieving that such a meek, polite person could hang criminals for a living. 3. Sympathy is raised for the accused person by adding a description of what happened leading up to the death of the victim. The murder is portrayed as a crime of passion, or perhaps self-defense. 4. The townspeople strongly oppose the execution, and show this clearly, as “the crowd had thrown sticks and bottles and small stones at the out-of-town workmen in the jail yard”. They also crowd Smitty, harassing him, and pelting him with stones after the hanging. 5. The law officials stand by the hanging sentence, but do not seem to agree with it. One...
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