The main character of the story “My Polish Teacher’s Tie” by Helen Dunmore is Carla Carter, who is also the narrator. Carla is the daughter of a Polish mother and a British father. She feels drawn to the Polish side of her identity and feels the need to reconnect with her roots. She corresponds with Stefan Jeziorny, a Polish teacher, whom she eventually meets. In his letters to Carla, Stefan calls himself Steve.

Other characters that are worth mentioning are the school’s headmaster, Valerie Kenward – the teacher who hosts Steve, and Jade – Carla’s daughter. While they are not main characters, some of them help the author portray prejudice against strangers. 

You can read a full characterization of Carla Carter and Stefan Jeziorny in the following pages.