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Herman E. Calloway in Bud, Not Buddy

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

In 'Bud, Not Buddy,' Herman E. Calloway is a mysterious character that Bud is dying to get know better - but Mr. Calloway has other plans. However, both of their worlds turn upside down when the truth comes out about them!

Main Characters in Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

In stories, there are usually two main characters: the protagonist and the antagonist. The protagonist is the main character that the readers are rooting for throughout the story. The antagonist, on the other hand, is the one working against the protagonist. In Bud, Not Buddy, the protagonist, Bud, has a very interesting relationship with the complex antagonist, Herman E. Calloway. In the following lesson, we'll discuss the special Mr. Calloway.

How Does Bud Learn of Mr. Calloway?

Bud is an orphan, and before she died his mother left him promotional concert flyers for a musician: Herman E. Calloway. Because mother never explains who Herman E. Calloway is and Bud has never met his own dad, Bud assumes that Mr. Calloway is his father.

First Impressions of Mr. Calloway

Bud sets out on a quest to find this man who he thinks is his father. But upon finding Mr. Calloway, Bud is surprised at his advanced age and cross manner.

As the leader of a band and local celebrity, everyone knows Mr. Calloway and lets him get away with his gruff attitude. The vocal coach of the band, Miss Thomas, even warns Bud about how grumpy Mr. Calloway can be, and she asks Bud to be patient when dealing with him.

When Bud tells Mr. Calloway that he thinks Calloway is his father, Mr. Calloway yells at Bud, calls him a liar, and wants to bring him immediately back to the orphanage. Ultimately he allows Bud to stay temporarily, but he sternly warns Bud that he better not touch anything in his house.

The Truth

Bud finds some rocks that belong to Mr. Calloway with handwritten dates and place names on them, which match a collection of rocks he inherited from his mother. In a tense scene, he shows this to Mr. Calloway and Calloway accuses Bud of stealing from him. When Bud tries to explain that he didn't steal them, Mr. Calloway gets even angrier.

The truth is that Mr. Calloway gave a rock to his daughter each time the band toured, with the date and city inscribed on it. Bud wound up with a collection of those rocks because his mother, Angela, was Mr. Calloway's daughter. Through these rocks, Mr. Calloway learns that Bud isn't his son - Bud is his grandson.

Until this point, Mr. Calloway never knew what happened to his daughter after she disappeared years ago. The news about Bud and the death of his daughter seemed too much for Mr. Calloway to handle.

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