The Other Foot

by

Ray Bradbury

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Hattie Johnson Character Analysis

In contrast to her husband Willie’s thirst for vengeance, Hattie Johnson does not see the white man’s arrival as an opportunity to exact revenge over the cruelty and racism that the Martians experienced on Earth. Empathetic and morally upright, Hattie is horrified to think that her children might have to witness the inhumanity and racism she experienced as a child in Greenwater, Alabama, even if now it is black people abusing white people out of revenge. For most of the story, Hattie is timid and scared of her husband. She fearfully goes along with his cruel plan to reinstate segregation and racism, though she cries silently as she helps. Seeing her husband’s influence over the crowd, Hattie knows that her husband is the “keystone”—if she can just dismantle his hatred, everyone else will follow suit. At the end of the story, Hattie acts with uncharacteristic boldness by being the first Martian to speak to the white man. She uses this conversation to show everyone—especially Willie—that everything on Earth has been destroyed, including physical remnants of racism such as lynching trees and plantation homes.

Hattie Johnson Quotes in The Other Foot

The The Other Foot quotes below are all either spoken by Hattie Johnson or refer to Hattie Johnson. 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:
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Other Foot published in 2012.
The Other Foot Quotes

Well, the white people live on Earth, which is where we all come from, twenty years ago. We just up and walked away and came to Mars and set down and built towns and here we are. Now we’re Martians instead of Earth people. And no white men’ve come up here in all that time. That’s the story.

Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

“You ain’t going to lynch him?”

“Lynch him?” Everyone laughed. Mr. Brown slapped his knee. “Why, bless you, child, no! We’re going to shake his hand. Ain’t we, everyone?”

Related Characters: Hattie Johnson (speaker), Mr. Brown (speaker), The White Man
Related Symbols: The Rope
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

I’m not feeling Christian […] I’m just feeling mean. After all them years of doing what they did to our folks—my mom and dad, and your mom and dad—You remember? You remember how they hung my father on Knockwood Hill and shot my mother? You remember? Or you got a memory that’s short like the others?

Related Characters: Willie Johnson (speaker), Hattie Johnson, The White Man
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

“Well […] the shoe’s on the other foot now. We’ll see who gets laws passed against him, who gets lynched, who rides the back of streetcars, who gets segregated in shows. We’ll just wait and see.”

Related Characters: Willie Johnson (speaker), Hattie Johnson, The White Man
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

All along the road people were looking up in the sky, or climbing in their cars, or riding in cars, and guns were sticking up out of some cars like telescopes sighting all the evils of a world coming to an end.

Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

She wanted to get at the hate of them all, to pry at it and work at it until she found a little chink, and then pull out a pebble or a stone or a brick and then a part of the wall, and once started, the whole edifice might roar down and be done away with. It was teetering now. But which was the keystone, and how to get at it? How to touch them and get a thing started in all of them to make a ruin of their hate?

Related Characters: Willie Johnson, Hattie Johnson
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

“The Lord’s let us come through, a few here and a few there. And what happens next is up to all of us. The time for being fools is over. We got to be something else except fools. […] now the white man’s as lonely as we’ve always been. He’s got no home now, just like we didn’t have one for so long. Now everything’s even. We can start all over again, on the same level.”

Related Characters: Willie Johnson (speaker), Hattie Johnson, The White Man
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Other Foot LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Other Foot PDF

Hattie Johnson Character Timeline in The Other Foot

The timeline below shows where the character Hattie Johnson appears in The Other Foot. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Other Foot
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Hattie Johnson’s children have heard the news as well. Hattie’s “three little Negro boys” jump up... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
The children beg Hattie to tell them stories about white men. Frowning, Hattie says that “it’s been a long... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Hattie looks up at the “blue clear Martian sky” painted with “thin white Martian clouds.” On... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Hattie stares at the sky with worry. She tells the boys to go inside, but they... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Hattie tells her boys that white people live on Earth, which is where “we all come... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Excitedly, the boys ask why the white men didn’t come up to Mars, too. Hattie answers that right after “we” got to Mars, the people on Earth engaged in a... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Approaching the Browns’ house, Hattie sees the family piled into the car. The Brown children greet Hattie and eagerly tell... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
Hattie notices her husband Willie driving by and shouts for him. Angrily, he asks why she’s... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Willie demands that Hattie get in his car and glares at her until she complies. As Willie races down... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Willie asks Hattie if she remembers “what they did to our folks,” and how white people hung his... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
Hattie tells her husband that he’s “talking trouble,” but Willie dismisses her. He says that for... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
Hattie disapprovingly tells Willie that he doesn’t “sound human,” but he tells her to “get used... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
Eventually, Hattie reluctantly goes into the house as well. Peering up into the dark attic, she can’t... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
In the yard, Hattie’s boys chatter about the white man, saying that he is white like milk, chalk, and... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
Back on the road, Hattie tells Willie to “slow up,” but he refuses, insisting it is time to hurry. The... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
As Willie navigates the throng of cars, Hattie feels anxiety and fear churning through her. People from other cars tote their ropes and... (full context)
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
...body with a thousand arms reaching out to take the weapons.” Everyone chants Willie’s name. Hattie, however, stands silently next to her husband and cries. Willie commands her to bring him... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
...pressure of a distant storm.” Many people watch Willie, who is still holding the rope. Hattie holds her husband’s arm and waits. She wants to extract the hate from everyone in... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
Suddenly, Hattie realizes that Willie is the “keystone,” and “if he could be pried loose,” then maybe... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
With her heart pounding, Hattie asks the old man if Dr. Phillips and his son are still alive. A machine... (full context)
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
In the car on the way home, Hattie affirms that this will be “A new start for everyone.” After a while, Willie answers... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
At home, Willie sits in the car while Hattie lets the boys out of the house. The children run out to their father asking... (full context)