These characters are important to the novel's theme of friend-ship. Mr. Donner's friendship with Charlie's Uncle Herman causes Mr. Donner to take in Charlie and care for him. Charlie's friend-ship and loyalty to Mr. Donner prompts Charlie to confront Gimpy over the shortchanging, and Charlie's friendship for Gimpy is the reason that he gives Gimpy a chance to reform and keep his job. Although Frank and Gimpy frequently use Charlie as an object of fun, they nevertheless are kind to him and accept him before his surgery and after his regression. In a way, they are like family in that they tease him and can make life miserable for Charlie, but, they also protect him. Although they are unable to accept the intelligent Charlie, we can surmise that some of their actions have to do with the startling nature of Charlie's change — which Charlie was not allowed to discuss — and Charlie's unconsciously growing intellectual arrogance, which may have made them feel that they were the ones being abandoned.