â€œHaâ€™penny, a short story written by Alan Paton, is about a young orphan who wants to be taken in by a family. Haâ€™penny is a believable character and is characterized directly by his background and indirectly by his actions and motivation.
Haâ€™penny is a mosuto, which is a member of the Black South African people. He comes from Bloemfontan and twelve years old. He is naughty and uncontrollable but also clever. He lives in a reformatory with six hundred other boys. He is believed to have a â€œmother [who works] in a white persons house and he [has] two brothers and two sistersâ€, however, he was â€œwith no relatives at allâ€ (411). Although, he told others he had a family, he had made it all up. â€œTaken from on home to another,â€ he was really never taken in and never had a steady life (411). He always had different changes and experiences. Having been raised without the support of a family or discipline from a parental figure indicated that he was in a way driven to be an uncontrollable and naughty kid.
Haâ€™penny is ashamed of being without a family with his indirect action he reveals his life as something it is not. â€œI thought you said Dickies, I said, I said Tickies, he saidâ€ (412). Haâ€™penny is a little nervous because he is afraid his mentor will figure him out. â€œNo one might discover that he was fatherless and motherlessâ€; moreover emphasizing that he is self conscious of what people will think of him, â€œno one in the world cared whether he was alive or deadâ€ (412). Haâ€™penny who is very discouraged by this has the mentality that if you do not have a family you are not cared for or loved. His mentor who realizes all of this gets involved more and more and wants to be there for Haâ€™penny by making an extra effort to help him.
Throughout the story it is revealed to the reader that Haâ€™penny is in need and desires a family; however, the family he desires to become a part of wants absolutely nothing to do with him.