This section contains 2,272 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Barsidious White, Tin Man
Barsidious White is the antagonist of the novel. He refers to himself as Barsidious White as well as Tin Man. His name Barsidious White comes from the name of the first family that he killed. Of course, white is also a color that symbolizes innocence, which is what was ultimately destroyed by the devil. He is called the Tin Man because of the tin mask that he wears most of the time. During the novel, White also masquerades as Officer Morton Lawdale as he tries to convince Jack and his group that he is the one who will bring them their salvation from their problems in the basement. In this role, White serves as the anti-Christ.
Before Jack and his group came to the house, White made a deal with the inbreds to let him in the basement door at the appointed time so that he can join the game. White is also the one who sets out the spike strips so that the tires on the two couples' cars are flattened. White kills Lawdale and takes his uniform and police cruiser so that he can appear to be Lawdale. The only different that Jack finds between the real Lawdale and the fake is that the fake Lawdale has black eyes while the trooper's eyes were blue.
White's game is one in which he hopes to prove to the people who he chooses to play his game how guilty they actually are. He tries to make the people realize this by pitting them against each other the dark and evil intentions they really hold in their hearts. He describes this as the playing out of everyday life in which people take out their anger on others in action instead of talking about them and being petty behind their backs. His intention is to prove that everyone is as capable of murder as he is.
Although it is never made completely clear, it is assumed that White is some sort of demon or ghost. Susan indicates White can be killed, but says that this action is not easy. It appears that White has been at least badly injured by the light that emits from Susan, Jack and Stephanie at the end of the novel, but he does not appear to have been killed because the police do not find his body when they investigate the house. Stephanie indicates that she believes he will kill again.
Although this novel doesn't really have a main character, Jack Singleton is the closest thing to a leading character that it does have. Jack appears to be more of a leading character than the others because he is one of the initial characters to be introduced. He also acts as the leader of the group of four people trapped inside the abandoned house by White.
When the novel begins, Jack and his wife are on their way to a counseling session. Although he wants to stay married, he believes that his wife will get divorced from him regardless of the outcome of their session. Through the course of their stay in the Wayside Inn, Jack realizes how much anger he has toward his wife, Stephanie, who he blames for the death of their daughter, even though the child's death was an accident.
During the novel, it is Jack who emerges as the leader of the group of four who are trapped inside an abandoned house. He is the one who distracts Betty and Stewart so they can get away when he offers to die for the others while they are trapped in the meat locker. Jack is also the one who first finds Susan in the house, and then decides that he will not leave the house without saving her also. It is to Jack that Susan keeps trying to explain how to get out of the house, but Jack either ignores her or does not understand her completely.
In the end of the novel, it is Jack whom Officer Lawdale/Tin Man begs to shoot him so the others will go free. With the help of Susan, however, Jack realizes almost too late that this officer actually is the Tin Man in disguise. After Susan is shot and light begins to emerge from her blood, Stephanie tells Jack that Susan is the light. After Stephanie begs God for forgiveness, Jack realizes his mistakes and joins her in her pleas.
Stephanie Singleton is the young, attractive wife of Jack. She has aspirations of leaving her husband and becoming a country singer. Stephanie's habit of singing in order to block out any unhappy or uncomfortable feelings irritates Jack. Stephanie was with their daughter, Melissa, when she died when she accidently fell through the ice on a frozen pond. Stephanie blames herself for Melissa's death, as does Jack. Stephanie reasons with herself that she is abandoning their marriage because of the numerous times that Jack has abandoned her.
During their time in the house, Betty torments Stephanie with ice cubes and the idea of freezing to death. Although Stephanie tries to run away from these problems as she has from problems in the past, she cannot do so because Tin Man has them locked in the house. When forced to face her problems, Stephanie develops some spunk and tries to fight back. Although in the past she had sung songs in order to cheer herself up and forget her problems, the idea of singing begins to make her sick.
It is when Pete abducts her and she almost willingly eats his dog food that she realizes how quickly she does what others believe she should do even though these things might be wrong. The idea makes her physically ill. She realizes that although they don't have much of a chance in the house, that if anyone were able to get them out of their predicament it would probably be Jack. As she and Jack fight their way through the house together, Stephanie's love for her husband returns and she realizes she has been as much at fault in the destruction of their marriage as he.
Randy Messarue is the male half of a second couple that is locked with Stephanie and Jack inside an abandoned house. Randy is very worldly and believes himself to be very successful and important. He runs a chain of hotels for a living and for this reason takes it on himself to complain about the service at the Wayside Inn. Throughout his time in the inn, Randy is pursued by images of his father who apparently abused Randy as a child. Stewart, one of the inbreds, develops a habit of removing his belt as Randy's father did. This action alone unnerves Randy. Randy believes he has overcome his fear of his father when he allows Stewart to drown in the drainpipe.
Randy is the weak link in the group of four people trapped inside the abandoned house. He is the one who becomes arrogant and hateful with his first encounter with Stewart while the others try to make friends with the strange people. Randy is also the one who takes the shotgun and shoots out the front door of the house in an attempt to free himself and the others. Randy thinks several times during the evening that he would be better off if he joined forces with Tin Man instead of trying to fight against him as the others do. In the end of the book, Randy does join the Tin Man as he gives in to the temptation to kill Leslie and stabs her with a knife. Even though Tin Man had told Randy that he would be allowed to go free if he produced a dead body, the Tin Man does not keep his promise. When Randy tells Jack that he killed Leslie, the Tin Man kills Randy.
Leslie Taylor is an attractive woman who works as a psychiatrist. She is Randy's girlfriend and describes their relationship as being "practically married." She is disturbed when Pete looks down her blouse and then Betty suggests that Randy will violate her in the room that night. Later in the novel it is learned that Leslie's uncle sexually abused her as a child. Although Leslie has let her experiences with abuse lead her to be a psychiatrist and help others, she realizes that she is still stuck in the grips of her own sexual addition. She uses her sexuality and the appeal that it has over men as a way to control them. She realizes that she has various personality traits that are like Pete.
Leslie is not as bad or as hopeless as Randy. However, she is his victim at the end of the novel. Randy catches Leslie in her moment of weakness as she is trying to make up her mind if she wants to follow Susan, Stephanie and Jack or not. When she turns back toward Randy, he stabs her with a knife.
Morton Lawdale is the police officer who originally almost runs Jack's car down from behind because Jack has a brake light out. It is this same man who Jack and Stephanie see at the roadblock. He appears to be a trigger-happy cop who has let his power go to his head. Lawdale is the one who suggests that Jack and Stephanie take the shortcut that leads them to the Wayside Inn. Lawdale he has a habit of cracking his neck. He also wears black sunglasses so that Jack can't see his eyes. When Jack finally does see the man's eyes, he realizes that they are blue. Lawdale is killed by Tin Man and the killer assumes the officer's appearance in order to manipulate the people he has locked inside the abandoned house. Jack later realizes it is the Tin Man masquerading as Lawdale when he sees that the man's eyes are black.
Betty is the first of the inbred people that Jack and his group meet. Stephanie is in the pantry of the house looking for candles or flashlights because the lights have gone out when she comes in contact with Betty. Although they believe Betty is the owner of the home, Betty seems interested only in having them help her get dinner on the table. Betty torments Stephanie with the ice, then later with the idea of freezing to death in the meat locker. It is Betty who shows Jack and the group the newspaper articles about the families who have been killed by the Tin Man. Betty continues to torment the four as they try to escape from the house. It is later when Leslie and Jack eavesdrop on Betty and Susan's conversation as Betty is brushing Susan's hair that they believe that Susan may be working on the side of the inbreds and the Tin Man.
Susan is a young girl/angel who willingly allows the Tin Man to trap her in the basement of the haunted house three days before Stephanie, Jack, Leslie and Randy are caught up in the Tin Man's game. At first Jack and the others are unsure if they should trust Susan because they are afraid she is working with the Tin Man in an attempt to trap them. The Tin Man is frustrated with Susan because he has never met anyone so completely innocent and good. Susan frustrates the Tin Man and ruins his game because she is willing to give herself as a sacrifice so that Jack and Stephanie can live. Susan represents Christ in this novel. She also reminds Jack of his daughter, Melissa, because of their innocence.
Pete is the son of inbreds Betty and Stewart. He seems to have the intelligence level of a child, but is abnormally strong. He is also obsessed with women. He torments Leslie by first looking down her blouse, then trapping her in his liar. Pete tries to force both Leslie and Stephanie to eat a mush that he makes out of rotten dog food. He claims this cereal will make them strong. When Leslie refuses to eat the mush, Pete puts her on a spinning board and throws darts at her. In an effort to get Pete to stop abusing her, Leslie almost turns to the sexual power that she holds over Pete but stops at the last moment. Stephanie does eat Pete's food.
Melissa was the young daughter of Jack and Stephanie. She was killed when she fell through ice on which her mother had her standing to take her picture. Stephanie did not realize she had her daughter standing on thin ice over a pond because there was snow over the ice. She had to look away from her daughter for a moment to change the batteries in her camera, and the child fell. As a result of Melissa's death, Jack and Stephanie have moved away from each other. Susan reminds Jack of Melissa and he is determined to save Susan because he could not save Melissa.
Stewart is the inbred father of Pete and husband of Betty. Stewart and Betty have made an agreement with the Tin Man that they will unlock the basement door and let him into the house when the time is right. Stewart seems to be especially created to torment Randy. Stewart reminds Randy of Randy's father who used to beat and torment him. Stewart is "killed" when Randy allows him to drown in a drainage shaft. Stewart comes back to life though to continue to help the Tin Man in his game.
This section contains 2,272 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)