Ralph "Ralphie" Parker is the protagonist of the novel In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd, and as such, is the main character of its various film adaptations, including A Christmas Story and its sequel. He is a self-centered, materialistic, but innocent kid who all he wants for Christmas is a rifle BB gun. The original book is told from the perspective of the grown-up Ralphie, working as a writer in New York. The story follows him when he returns to his old hometown of Hohman, Indiana to write a magazine article about it, and reminisces on his childhood experiences there during the Great Depression. However, while the film retains the adult Ralphie's narration (voiced by Jean Shepherd himself), the film itself focuses entirely on his exploits as a nine-year-old kid, while the sequel, set five years later, follows his life as a 14-year-old teenager. As he grows up, he becomes a lot more well-meaning and nice, but he still has his childish daydreams as he did as a 9-year-old boy.

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