Keeping it from Harold

by

P.G. Wodehouse

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Major Percy Stokes Character Analysis

The brother of Jane Bramble, Major Percy Stokes is a missionary for the Salvation Army—a Protestant Christian church and charitable organization that traditionally uses military structure. The Salvation Army prohibits its members from drinking, smoking, taking drugs, and gambling. Despite his purported devoutness and insistence that boxing is sinful, Percy readily borrows money from his sister and interferes uninvited in her family life. Though criticized for being a narcissist who “liked the sound of his own voice” and “could talk the hind leg off a donkey,” he is supposedly a “persuasive” missionary nevertheless. He once persuaded a “publican,” or pub owner, to donate all his goods to the poor—starting with his “stock in trade,” or beer; a large riot quickly ensued. This indicative example of Percy’s accomplishments as a missionary—winning free beer for the public—illustrates that he is a laughable preacher who does no real good for the cause. He attempts to persuade his brother-in-law, Bill, to quit boxing by telling him that young Harold will likely read about his next fight in the newspaper, and Bill doesn’t want the boy to know about his career as a boxer. Percy proudly refers to Bill a “brand from the burning,” or a convert who has been saved from purgatory, but Bill’s rationale is more practical than spiritual—he doesn’t personally disapprove of his sport’s association with violence and gambling. When Bill’s trainer Jerry Fisher confronts them, Percy cowers and avoids taking responsibility for the boxer’s sudden change of heart.

Major Percy Stokes Quotes in Keeping it from Harold

The Keeping it from Harold quotes below are all either spoken by Major Percy Stokes or refer to Major Percy Stokes. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Morality and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Strand edition of Keeping it from Harold published in 1913.
Keeping it from Harold Quotes

“He’s seen the error of his ways,” cried Percy, the resilient. “That’s what he’s gone and done. At the eleventh hour it has been vouchsafed to me to snatch the brand from the burning. Oh! I have waited for this joyful moment. I have watched for it. I—”

Related Characters: Major Percy Stokes (speaker), Harold Bramble, Jane Bramble, Bill Bramble
Explanation and Analysis:
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Keeping it from Harold PDF

Major Percy Stokes Character Timeline in Keeping it from Harold

The timeline below shows where the character Major Percy Stokes appears in Keeping it from Harold. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Keeping it from Harold
Morality and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Class and Social Status Theme Icon
Pride Theme Icon
...the truth of Bill’s job from the boy for his own good.  Jane’s brother, Major Percy Stokes of the Salvation Army, also steers the Brambles towards deceiving their son when he... (full context)
Morality and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Class and Social Status Theme Icon
Pride Theme Icon
...her reverie. When she questions why Bill isn’t training at his gym, the White Hart, Percy babbles about “wrestling with Bill” and being “vouchsafed the victory,” while Jane expresses her confusion... (full context)
Morality and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Class and Social Status Theme Icon
Pride Theme Icon
...asks him what about the money he was supposed to earn from the match, and Percy scoffs at the question. She reminds her brother that she has lent him enough money... (full context)
Morality and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Class and Social Status Theme Icon
Pride Theme Icon
...explains that he is thinking of Harold, and how he decided not to fight after Percy pointed out that the big match-up with the American Jimmy Murphy would likely be covered... (full context)
Morality and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Class and Social Status Theme Icon
Pride Theme Icon
Just then Jerry walks in and rushes toward Percy. Percy dives under the table “like a performing seal” while Bill and Jane tell Jerry... (full context)
Morality and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Class and Social Status Theme Icon
Pride Theme Icon
...seeks revenge on Bill by telling the boy the truth about his father. Bill and Percy try to cut him off, but he talks over them. Bill and Percy tell Harold... (full context)