“The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses” by Bessie Head
Hannetjie is a new warder to the Span One prison group. When introduced in the story, the warder “Hannetjie” is a figure of strong nature and will. He is demanding and controlling. When he gets caught stealing, Brille, a prisoner in the group, sparks a deal with Hannetjie. The prisoners of Span One get to enjoy privileges to help comfort their long stay ahead. In return, they will steal for Hannetjie and cooperate with him to make the group look outstanding. The relationship of the characters takes on change that ends in cooperation on both sides.
The story, “The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses” is told in the third person limited omniscient. We are limited to Brille’s thoughts and reminiscences. We are never told any thoughts of the other characters introduced in the story. Brille is presented as the protagonist. He plays the role of the central character, becomes the hero amongst his group, and displays empathy to his group and family. Hannetjie plays the role of the antagonist even though Hannetjie takes on the biggest change in behavior.
When the story begins, we are introduced to Brille who appears to be easily intimidated. He takes notice of the clouds passing by. He is thin, little, has a hollowed out chest, and knobby knees. He is portrayed as a weak man. Weak men tend to be easily intimidated. However, he is not easily intimidated or weak. We find out he is able to manipulate the warder. He is even able to control is twelve children who are out of control when alone in the presence of their own mother.
Hannetjie is introduced as a man with frightening eyes, “A simple, primitive, brutal soul gazed out of them” (Head 104). With the brief description of the eyes, Hannetjie’s meanness is displayed to the reader. He is one of the many warders that have been sought to look after Span One. No warder has lasted more than a week with the group. ...