Mrs. Wilson is the main character in the short story “After You, My Dear Alphonse” by Shirley Jackson. Mrs. Wilson’s underlying racism and prejudice towards African Americans is hidden under a mask of generosity and hospitality. Her prejudices remain unchanged by her encounter with Boyd. Johnny and Boyd’s relationship is another important element in the story. Johnny does not seem to care that Boyd is African American, and he is unable to understand his mother’s attitude towards Boyd. The two boys see each other as equals. However, in the end, their relationship apparently starts to be affected by Mrs. Wilson’s prejudices.
The story also mentions Boyd’s family. Boyd’s father is a foreman. His mother is a housewife and does not have any other jobs. Boyd’s sister is studying to become a teacher. These characters contradict Mrs. Wilson’s prejudiced stereotypes about African Americans, although Mrs. Wilson refuses to see this.
You can read a full characterization of Mrs. Wilson, Boyd, and Johnny in the following pages.