Study Guide

Simon and Bertha Haley in Roots: The Saga of an American Family

By Alex Haley

Simon and Bertha Haley

Simon and Bertha Haley are the parents of Alex, our narrator.

Bertha lives a pretty cushy existence, to be honest. Her father's a successful businessman, which means that she can get anything she wants growing up. That might be something to complain about in most instances (nobody likes Gretchen Wieners syndrome). But the fact that Bertha has too much of everything is a beautiful testament to how far the family has come.

Simon, on the other hand, grows up in a working-class family. While Bertha presumably has an easy path to college, Simon has to work multiple jobs to support himself and is only able to afford his Master's due to the kindness of an old rich guy, who gives money to him after hearing his story.

Simon and Bertha certainly endure their fair share of struggles, but they're walking evidence of the Kinte line's rise to prosperity. Get it, Kinte fam!