Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming Characters

Jacqueline

Brown Girl Dreaming is told through the eyes of Jacqueline, a young African-American girl who loves to make up and tell stories. The book (written by author Jacqueline Woodson about her own younger self) follows… (read full character analysis)

Odella

Odella, or Dell, is Jacqueline’s older sister. She is named after her Uncle Odell, who died before her birth. Odella is a voracious reader and an excellent student. Instead of playing playground games with… (read full character analysis)

Roman

Roman is Jacqueline’s younger brother, and the youngest child in the family. Roman has a different father than Odella, Hope, and Jacqueline, and has lighter skin and straight hair. When he is… (read full character analysis)

Hope

Hope, Jacqueline’s older brother, is generally quiet and reserved, except when talking about his two favorite things: comic books and science. He is named after his paternal grandfather, Grandpa Hope. When the family… (read full character analysis)

Mama

Mama is mother to Jacqueline, Odella, Hope, and Roman. After leaving Jack—Jacqueline, Odella, and Hope’s father—she moves the children from Ohio to South Carolina and later to New York City… (read full character analysis)
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Gunnar

Gunnar is Jacqueline’s maternal grandfather. He and his wife Maryann live in South Carolina. He is a jovial spirit and enjoys maintaining his vegetable garden in his spare time. He has a close relationship… (read full character analysis)

MaryAnn

MaryAnn is Jacqueline’s maternal grandmother. She and Gunnar live in South Carolina. MaryAnn is a devoted Jehovah’s Witness and an excellent cook. When Mama and her children come to live with her and Gunnar… (read full character analysis)

Diana

Diana is a girl of Puerto Rican descent who moves into an apartment on Madison Street and becomes friends with Maria and Jacqueline. Jacqueline becomes jealous of Diana and worries that she is taking… (read full character analysis)

Jack

Jack is Jacqueline’s father, after whom Jacqueline is named. Jack, who is from Ohio, dislikes the South because of the segregation and racism he experiences there. Mama and her children live with Jack in… (read full character analysis)

Uncle Robert

Robert is Jacqueline’s uncle and Mama’s brother. Robert moves to New York while the family is living there. Robert is optimistic and generous, and he encourages Jacqueline’s storytelling tendencies. Unfortunately, Robert is also… (read full character analysis)

Aunt Kay

Kay is Jacqueline’s aunt and Mama’s sister, with whom Mama is extremely close. When Mama and the children move to New York, they move in with Kay and her boyfriend, Bernie. Aunt… (read full character analysis)

Grandma Grace

Grandma Grace is Jacqueline’s paternal grandmother. Grandma Grace, like Mama, is from the South, and the two bond over how much they miss their home. After Jack and Mama separate and the family… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Maria
After Jacqueline moves to Madison Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, she meets Maria, a girl whose parents are from Puerto Rico. Maria quickly becomes Jacqueline’s best friend. Two play together frequently, and Maria teaches Jacqueline some Spanish. Maria and Jacqueline are so close that Maria considers Jacqueline to be family.
Uncle Odell
Uncle Odell is Mama’s brother and Odella’s namesake. Odell died after being hit by a car a few months before Odella’s birth.
Dorothy
Dorothy is Mama’s cousin and best friend. She visits Mama in South Carolina with her children.
Grandpa Hope
Grandpa Hope is Jacqueline’s paternal grandfather, whom she sees frequently when she lives in Ohio. After the family moves to South Carolina, they fall out of touch with Jack’s side of the family. Later, in New York, Jacqueline learns that Grandpa Hope has died.
Bernie
Bernie is Aunt Kay’s boyfriend, who moves to Rockaway with Peaches after her death.
Peaches
Peaches is Aunt Kay’s friend, who moves to Rockaway with Bernie after her death.
Ms. Vivo
Ms. Vivo is one of Jacqueline’s elementary school teachers. She is a self-identified feminist. Ms. Vivo tells Jacqueline she is a writer and encourages her creative pursuits.
Gina
Gina is a classmate of Jacqueline’s and a fellow Jehovah’s Witness. Gina is more religious than Jacqueline.
Alina
Alina is classmate of Jacqueline’s and a fellow Jehovah’s Witness. Like Jacqueline, Alina is not very committed to her religion.
Cora and her sisters
Cora and her sisters are children who live in Jacqueline’s neighborhood in South Carolina.
Leftie
Leftie is a teenager in Jacqueline’s neighborhood in Brooklyn who lost an arm in the Vietnam War.
Ms. Bell
Ms. Bell is MaryAnn and Gunnar’s neighbor in South Carolina with whom they have a friendly relationship. During the Civil Rights Movement, Ms. Bell hosts secret meetings at her house.
Carlos
Maria’s baby brother. Jacqueline attends the party for his baptism.
Mrs. Hughes
Mrs. Hughes runs the day school that Odella, Jacqueline, and Hope attend one summer in Greenville.
Ms. Moskowitz
Ms. Moskowitz is one of Jacqueline’s teachers.
Ms. Feidler
Ms. Feidler is one of Jacqueline’s teachers.