slightly prejudiced. He decides which nationality each child is based on their looks. He is particularly interested in Joe. This is presumably because of Joe's race. Like everyone else, the carpenter is astounded at the sight of a black boy who speaks German. He nicknames him "Joe Louis," after the boxer. The carpenter does not seem to have an awareness of how his teasing might affect the mind of a 6-year-old. When he tells Joe his "father" is here, the carpenter is clearly kidding. Joe does not know this.