The Mandarin’s daughter is the person who eventually comes up with the correct solution to the problem that is devastating the two cities. She appears to be very close to her father, and he relies on her absolutely for her advice. Unlike the Mandarin, she does not passively resign herself to defeat but seeks an active strategy for success. She shows great creativity and ingenuity in devising a plan, although at first the town of Kwan-Si has an answer to everything she and the Mandarin devise. Eventually, though, she transcends her own limited perspective and proposes a genuinely wise solution that will keep both towns happy. She thus becomes the voice of wisdom and saves the towns from themselves. Her wisdom is acknowledged by both mandarins, who sing her praises.
The Mandarin is an old man who is in charge of an unnamed city two miles away from Kwan-Si. It appears that the Mandarin has lived in the same town since he was a child. He is also referred to once as the Emperor. He appears to be a conscientious man who takes his responsibilities seriously and wants the best for his people. The news that Kwan-Si has built a wall resembling a pig makes him both sad and angry, but he appears to have no ideas of his own about how to deal with the problem. He just thinks that doom has come to the city and there is nothing he can do about it. He depends entirely on the ingenuity of his daughter. After a while, the perpetual rivalry and fear between the two towns takes its toll on his health, and he becomes very ill, but he recovers some of his strength as soon as a solution is found.
The Mandarin Kwan-Si
The mandarin Kwan-Si is the man in charge of the town of Kwan-Si. So important is he, it would appear, that his own name is also that of the city over which he presides. The mandarin is old and sick, and it is strongly implied that he, like the mandarin of the first town, has been weakened by the constant conflict between the two towns. When he meets the first mandarin, he readily agrees that the situation is intolerable and must be changed.
The messenger appears twice, bringing news of the building of the town walls at Kwan-Si to the Mandarin.
Sara Constantakis, Thomas E. Barden – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 28 (2010) – Ray Bradbury – Published by Gale Cengage Learning.