“The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses” by Bessie Head

Length: 3 Pages 765 Words

“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 Continue...


We want a good warder because with out a good warder we won't be able to manage the long stretch ahead (107). With the brief description of the eyes, Hannetjie's meanness is displayed to the reader. This is what the group and Hannetje worked out. He brings them un-heard luxuries and even works beside them. We find out he is able to manipulate the warder. At the end of story, Hannetjie cooperates with the group. Brille has a conversation with Hannetjie the next day and Hannetjie confesses. He begins to treat Span One with a different manner than in the beginning of the story. Weak men tend to be easily intimidated. Brille used these same words to get Hannetjie to cooperate with Span One. Brille betrays Hannetjie after he brides Brille into not telling of the stolen fertilizer. The prison only uses white warders to oversee the black prisoners. No warder has lasted more than a week with the group. For example, "They were awfully good at stealing certain commodities like fertilizer which were needed on the farm of Warder Hannetjie (107).