All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See


Anthony Doerr

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All the Light We Cannot See Characters

Marie-Laure LeBlanc

One of the two protagonists of All the Light We Cannot See, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is an inquisitive, intellectually adventurous girl. She became blind at the age of six, but learns to adapt to this… read analysis of Marie-Laure LeBlanc

Werner Pfennig

Werner Pfennig is a young, intelligent German boy, and one of the two protagonists of All the Light We Cannot See. Werner has whitish-blond hair, blue eyes, and is strikingly intelligent, so he… read analysis of Werner Pfennig

Daniel LeBlanc

Marie Laure’s father, Daniel LeBlanc, is selflessly devoted to his daughter—indeed, he spends long hours teaching her Braille and crafting elaborate models of Paris (and later Saint-Malo) to teach her how to walk through… read analysis of Daniel LeBlanc

Frank Volkheimer

Frank Volkheimer is the huge, intimidating, and morally ambiguous staff sergeant who works as an assistant at Werner Pfennig’s school, the National Institute, and later commands Werner through his time in the German army… read analysis of Frank Volkheimer

Jutta Pfennig

Werner Pfennig’s beloved sister Jutta is the moral constant against which Werner measures his own sins. When Werner is recruited for the prestigious National Institute—a Fascist school—Jutta begins to ignore him, and when he’s… read analysis of Jutta Pfennig
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Frau Elena

Frau Elena is the head of the orphanage where Jutta and Werner Pfennig grow up. She’s a gentle, kind woman, and treats all her children well, despite a severe lack of resources. When the Nazis… read analysis of Frau Elena

Great-Uncle Etienne LeBlanc

Etienne LeBlanc is an old, eccentric, and extremely reclusive (it’s implied he has post-traumatic stress disorder from World War I) man who lives in the seaside town of Saint-Malo, France. When his nephew, Daniel Leblancread analysis of Great-Uncle Etienne LeBlanc

Madame Manec

Madame Manec is a brave, resourceful, and kindly maid and cook for Etienne LeBlanc. When Daniel and Marie-Laure LeBlanc arrive in Saint-Malo, Madame Manec dotes on Marie-Laure, and their friendship becomes an important influence… read analysis of Madame Manec

Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel

Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel is a cruel, greedy German military commander, who uses a mixture of torture, sadism, manipulation, and blackmail in order to track down the legendary Sea of Flames—a valuable diamond… read analysis of Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel

Dr. Hauptmann

An intelligent and powerful professor at the National Institute school that Werner attends, Dr. Hauptmann is at first a powerful ally for Werner, giving his bright student science projects and special assignments that win him… read analysis of Dr. Hauptmann


An intelligent, shy student at the National Institute, who befriends Werner Pfennig. Frederick is an avid scholar of birds, and idolizes Audubon, the great American naturalist. When he begins to fall behind in his… read analysis of Frederick

Henri LeBlanc

Marie-Laure LeBlanc’s grandfather and Etienne LeBlanc’s brother, Henri LeBlanc was a bright, intelligent young man who was killed in World War I. Although he’s rarely mentioned in the novel, he exerts a powerful… read analysis of Henri LeBlanc
Minor Characters
Walter Bernd
An engineer in the German army and an associate of Werner Pfennig and Frank Volkheimer, killed during the Allies’ bombing of the town of Saint-Malo.
Dr. Geffard
An elderly, intellectual Frenchman living in Paris, who tutors Marie-Laure while she’s a young girl.
Monsieur Giannot
An associate of the Museum of Natural History in Paris, Monsieur Giannot is supposed to give aid to Daniel LeBlanc, but is forced to leave for London when his situation in France becomes too dangerous.
Herr Rudolph Siedler
A powerful German official stationed in Essen. When Werner is a young man, Siedler recognizes his scientific temperament and sharp mind (after Werner fixes his radio), and arranges for him to attend the National Institute, setting in motion most of the important events of Werner’s life.
Reiner Schicker
A German soldier—possibly imaginary—who’s celebrated among the Nazi troops for bravely sacrificing his life for his country.
Claude Levitte
A greedy perfumer living in Saint-Malo, Claude Levitte stays “on top” by acting as an informer—first for the German troops who invade France, and later for Reinhold von Rumpel, who’s come to the town to track down the Sea of Flames.
A sadistic instructor at the National Institute, who bullies many of Werner’s peers, and eventually Werner himself.
A weak student and athlete, who’s bullied and eventually dismissed from the National Institute while Werner is also a student there.
Professor Hublin
An important administrator at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Von Rumpel bullies and intimidates him into divulging information about the Sea of Flames.
Helmut Rödel
A tough, unkind student at the National Institute, who bullies and beats Werner’s friend Frederick.
Frau Schwartzenberger
An elderly Jewish woman who lives in the same building as Frederick’s family, and, it’s strongly implied, is sent to a concentration camp to die when the Nazis consolidate their power.
The talented jeweler who designed the three fake versions of the Sea of Flames.
Neumann One
A soldier in the German army, with whom Werner Pfennig travels and fights.
Neumann Two
A soldier in the German army, with whom Werner Pfennig travels and fights. Neumann Two is responsible for one of the most gruesome crimes depicted in the novel, the murder of a tiny child.
Madame Blanchard
An elderly woman in Saint-Malo, and a friend of Madame Manec. She is a participant in the French resistance in the town.
Jean Brignon
A Frenchman who tells Sergeant Major von Rumpel about the whereabouts of Daniel LeBlanc.
Madame Ruelle
An elderly woman in Saint-Malo, and a friend of Madame Manec. She participates in the French resistance by concealing secret messages in loaves of bread and giving them to Marie-Laure LeBlanc.
One of the young daughters of Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel.
Albert Wette
The man who eventually marries Jutta Pfennig. Not coincidentally, Albert is a few years younger than Jutta, meaning that he’s too young to have had his morals seriously challenged by World War II.
Marie-Laure’s daughter.
Marie-Laure’s grandson.
Marie-Laure’s one-time lover, and the father of her child, Hélène.
Harold Bazin
An old homeless man who lives in Saint-Malo, and shows Marie-Laure the grotto where she later hides the Sea of Flames diamond.
Hans Schilzer
A large bully at Frau Elena’s orphanage.
Jutta’s son.