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Character Spotlight: Henry

By Oliver Perry, Read to Them Staff

Happy Monday friends, and happy second week of reading Finding Langston by Lisa Cline-Ransome. This week, we will finish reading the tales of young Langston, who was the subject of last week’s Character Spotlight. Today, we’ll be getting to know a character who’s equally important. Let’s all give a warm welcome to the leader of the family…


Name: Henry (or Daddy)

Characteristics: Henry is very tall and quite handsome. He isn’t very talkative, but he flashes a bright smile at his neighbor, Pearl Fulton, from time to time.

Home: Henry is originally from Alabama, where most of his family, including his sister Lena and his mother, still live. However, after Teena passed, he moved to the south side of Chicago. More specifically, he and Langston live in a cramped apartment at 4501 Wabash Avenue, where there is a smell of onions and newspaper is used as wallpaper.

Family: The only family member Henry lives with is his son, Langston. However, many of his family members still live in Alabama. Henry and Langston’s mother, Teena, passed away.

Job: In Chicago, Henry works in a factory, the Maxwell Brothers plant. He takes the el train and a bus to get there, and works long, hard hours, getting home well after Langston most days. Back in Alabama, Henry worked as a farmer. It is safe to say that he much preferred his old job. However, he enjoys that he, “...ain’t gotta spend (his) days yessiring and nosiring. Just do the work, and collect my check at the end of the week… Helps me hold my head just a little bit higher.”

Personality: Henry, like Langston, is rather soft-spoken. He is unapologetically “country”: when he is made fun of for buying porgies, he tells Langston, “Ain’t no shame in being from the country.” Old-fashioned and hard working, although he doesn’t say it, he wants his son to have the same qualities. Henry also dearly misses his wife. He couldn’t bear to stay in Alabama after she passed. This shows us how much family means to Henry, as he also sends a good portion of money back home; even more as his mother gets sicker. He believes in the Bible, he treats others with respect, and expects that same respect in return.

Likes: Hard work, family, the Bible, porgies

Notable Quote: “After your mama passed, I knew I couldn’t stay. For me, Alabama is her and us. Without her, ain’t nothing left for me there.”

We encourage you to pay attention to how Henry’s character may change as we finish the novel this week. Have an opinion on any of the characters, let us know your thoughts about them or anything else on your Flipgrid. Have a great rest of your week, be kind, and happy reading!

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