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Character Role Analysis

Papa (Jackson Mathabane)

Papa is the opposite of Mark in almost every way. Papa provides the contrast to Mark's belief that tradition and tribalism leads to death and slavery, while getting an education and entering the modern world leads to life and freedom. As Mark himself puts it, "We both knew that we were on a collision course. I was set in my ways, he in his. He disparaged education, I extolled it; he burned my books at every opportunity, I bought more; he abused my mother, I tried to help her; he believed all that the white man said about him, I did not; he lived for the moment, I for the future, uncertain as it was" (33.30).