• Dynamic character- the protagonist comes of age, doing the morally correct thing by returning the seeds to Mr. Wills
  • Is a teenager- sixteen at the start of the story. Characterisation is developed through the use of colloquial language such as ‘shucks’, ‘aint’
· At the start of the story, his immaturity and childlike behavior is emphasized further as they swim in the moonlight (‘catapulting, yelling, rushing), typical boyish past-times yet on the brink of adolescence as they are talking about girls ‘we were getting old enough…more fun than going swimming in the moonlight . · Has independent thoughts and sticks to his opinions- he is firm about liking Willadean’s walk whether it was all for effect or it was natural. · It hints the idea of the coming of age at the exposition when the protagonist talks about how he “hadn’t been interested in girls before” and was now admitting to having been interested in Willadean Wills. This shows his age and maturity at that time. · Feels like an outsider ‘because I was still new, there were certain things and certain feelings where I was left out’. For this reason he has to prove himself to the other boys (rites of passage) to gain their confidence and admiration · False bravado in the exposition of the story when the protagonist claims that he is going to steal the watermelon CHARACTERISATION DURING THE RISING ACTION AND CLIMAX
Confused thoughts and irrational behaviour
It was all mixed up… an outsider
Feels that he has to prove himself. Teenage need for acceptance and dealing with attraction to the opposite sex for the first time.
Teenage rebellion
There was a rightness in defying the world and Mr. Wills
Typical teenage behavior to defy authority. Has his own views on justice
Reckless, foolhardy, daredevil
‘take it right out from under his nose’
· Stealing it on a full moon night where it is visible
· Increases the element of danger
· Heightens suspense
· Creation of dramatic tension
‘it was too late to stop now’

‘didn’t have the faintest idea how to get it out’
· Said things in the spur of the moment
· Didn’t think it through
· Signifies his immaturity
Adamant, resolute, stuck to what he said
‘I’m going after it right now’
‘I was committed’
‘wasn’t the same thing as actually taking it’
· Went after it even though he was scared because he had to prove something
· Took it the whole way

‘destroying the rest of the melon’

‘boys still thinking of me as an outsider’
· Cheap thrills
· Typical boy-like interests/personality
· Under peer pressure

The victory and rites of passage is contradicted with his childish behavior when he stamps on the remaining watermelon
‘Stamped the chunks’
‘Swept into the destruction… laughing again’
Shows that he is still immature for all his bravado

Yet there is something that suggests that he has his heart in the right place
‘I did not feel triumph or victory’


The narrator undergoes a change during this section of the story (coming of age)
  • Initially, he’s young and immature- steals and destroys the watermelon to look good in front of his peers and friends. This also shows that he is juvenile and bows down to peer pressure. Evidence- ‘I had committed so lightly, of pride’ & ‘Out of wanting to challenge the older man’.
  • However, by the end of the extract, his character shows a change, as he starts feeling guilty (I didn’t sleep that night’ & ‘I couldn’t look at him anymore’) about stealing the watermelon, once he realizes its significance to Mr. Wills. He realises that he has stolen a family's happiness.
  • Learns a lesson about false pride and immaturity. He speaks 'humbly' to Mr Wills when he offers to help with the planting of seeds
  • The narrator shows his strength of character when he states that he 'had to repair the damage that I had done'. In spite of witnessing Mr. Wills' wrath the narrator courageously decides to own up to his crime. Makes the reader admire him.
  • Remorse for his actions- painstakingly collects each seed 'doggedly' even if it meant 'crawling on the ground'. Crawling shows how he has to debase himself to put things right.
  • The protagonist hangs his head when he realizes that Mr Wills grew watermelons for his wife and not for himself. The narrator’s body language shows shame and sorrow, as he realizes his mistake
  • Innocence of his comment when he ‘blurts out’ that he’ll sit with Willadean on the porch anytime. Makes him seem naïve and lovable for being so transparent about his feelings for Willadean.
  • Retains his childish curiosity when he inquiries about the shell in the gun