Mike’s outer characterisation in the story is very brief. He is 45 years old (l. 72) and worked in corporate finance (ll. 27-28), managing a department of 40 people (ll. 48-49) before he was fired (l. 16).
Mike is described as being shorter than his elder son, Tom, and not as fit and strong as him (l. 120). He is a former smoker (l. 12). It is mentioned that he has “stockinged feet” (ll. 98-99), but there are no other descriptions of his clothing.
Mike’s inner characterisation is constructed through the narrator’s description of his thoughts, and through his language, actions, and attitude.
Mike appears to be a dedicated family man, with an idealised image of family life. He feels happy thinking about his wife and children (ll. 2-3) and finds comfort in the idea of spending time together with Tom (ll. 54-55). His favourite moment of the day is when he puts his younger son, Billy, to sleep (l. 183). Once he loses his job, he begins to plan, thinking about what is best for his family (ll. 176-177).
However, Mike is an incompetent parent. He has an estranged relationship with his children ...