Orwell is the narrator of Down and Out in Paris and London. In his twenties, Orwell is a writer and sometimes English tutor who, after a series of setbacks, finds himself in an impoverished state… (read full character analysis)
A former Russian soldier in his mid-thirties, Boris and Orwell became friends at a Paris hospital where Boris was being treated for arthritis. Once attractive and a model of masculine strength, Boris is now obese… (read full character analysis)
An Irishman Orwell meets at his first stay in a casual ward, Paddy Jacques is a veteran of the war with a deep knowledge of London’s charitable lodging houses. He is deeply ashamed of being… (read full character analysis)
Bozo is a London pavement artist and friend of Paddy Jacques’s who was made crippled while working as a house painter. Despite being penniless, Bozo refuses to give in to self-pity. An avowed atheist… (read full character analysis)
Valenti is a 24 year-old waiter with whom Orwell works at the Hotel X. He is kind, handsome, and has worked his way up from the gutter. Once, on the verge of starvation, Valenti prayed… (read full character analysis)
Mario is a waiter at the Hotel X who has fourteen years of experience. A huge, excitable Italian, he conducts all of his duties with aplomb, even singing bits from “Rigoletto” as he works. Unlike… (read full character analysis)
A young, shiftless man from a respectable family who, like Orwell, lives at the Hotel des Trois Moineaux. Charlie characterizes his savage rape of a young prostitute as the day he discovered the true… (read full character analysis)
Furex is a veteran of World War I and a Limousin stone mason. A communist when sober and red hot patriot when drunk, he is a regular at the bistro at the foot of the… (read full character analysis)
Orwell relates the story of Rocoulle’s sad end after a cocaine deal gone wrong as an illustration of the precarious nature of the existence of the eccentrics who live in the Latin Quarter. Famously thrifty… (read full character analysis)
The doorkeeper at the Hotel X, he cheats Orwell out of part of his wages. He is perhaps the most glaring instance of Orwell’s racism. Orwell writes, “After knowing him I saw the force of… (read full character analysis)
A friend of Orwell’s who secures him a job taking care of a “congenital imbecile” in London, B. is a prosperous gentlemen who lends Orwell a little money to help get him through his month in London without work.
A basement waiter at the Hotel X. Magyar is not a hard-worker. Orwell describes him as a hairy, uncouth brute of a man.
He is a communist who steadfastly refuses to work. Like Boris, Jules is a waiter at the Auberge. He is small, dark, talkative, and a former medical student.
The Cook at the Auberge
She is a fan of Tolstoy and of opera and claims to have been a singer in her youth. She and Orwell bicker constantly in the Auberge kitchen over, of all things, the garbage can. She often breaks down in tears during her shifts and is very superstitious.
The Patron’s Wife
The wife of the Patron, who is the owner of the Auberge. She is, in Orwell’s words, “fat, French, and horrid.”
The owner of the Hotel des Trois Moineaux, Madame F is Orwell’s landlord in Paris. She is a good sort who charges reasonable rents and a “splendid Auvergnat peasant woman with the face of a strong-minded cow.”
An eccentric, dwarfish couple who live in the Hotel des Trois Moineaux, they make money selling postcards they claim are pornographic. In reality, the cards are merely photos of a chateau.
Henri is a mostly-mute sewer worker. He is a resident of the Hotel des Trois Moineaux, and was once imprisoned for stabbing his unfaithful lover.
The owner of an unnamed hotel in the Latin Quarter, she accuses her tenant of squashing insects into the wallpaper.
Azaya is a “great, clumping” peasant girl who frequents the bistro at the foot of the Hotel des Trois Moineaux on Saturday nights. She works at a glass factory.
A friend of Azaya’s , she is dark, Corsican, and stubbornly virginal.
A Spaniard who also spends his Saturday nights at the bistro.
A bricklayer who brings his bastard children to the bistro with him.
A peasant girl involved with Charlie who pretends to be pregnant in order to gain entrance to a Catholic-run maternity hospital in Paris.
An Englishman who lives half the year at the Hotel des Trois Moineaux and half the year in London. He drinks himself into a stupor nearly every night.
A rag merchant and inhabitant of the Hotel des Trois Moineaux.
A Romanian who lives at the Hotel des Trois Moineaux. He has a glass eye and won’t admit it.
A Young Italian Compositor
A thief who robs many of the rooms in the Hotel des Trois Moineaux, including Orwell’s.
Jewish Clothing Store Owner
An angry man who regularly underpays the residents of the Latin Quarter for their clothes. The clothing store owner is an example of Orwell’s casual anti-Semitism. Orwell equates the store owner’s Jewish identity with his tendency to cheat his customers.
A Jewish Mechanic
Boris’s roommate who owes Boris 300 francs and, as a form of repayment, allows Boris to sleep on the floor and gives him two francs a day for food. The mechanic, whom Orwell never meets, is a second example book’s casual anti-Semitism.
The Hotel X Chef du Personnel
Orwell’s boss during the time he works at the hotel, the chef du personnel is pale-faced, fuzzy-headed, and Italian.
The Hotel X Head Cook
A scarlet-faced man with a big mustache, the head cook regularly hurls abuse at waiters or at anyone else working for him.
An Italian waiter at the Hotel X who threatens to knife another waiter’s face over a woman.
An ex-lover of Boris’s who disappoints him when she refuses his request for a loan.
Young peasant woman
A peasant girl who lives in Valenti’s hotel, Maria saves Valenti from starvation when she discovers an oil can in his apartment. Maria returns the can to the store and, with the deposit money, buys Valenti bread and wine.
An inhabitant of Bozo’s London lodging house who makes a living selling old cigarette ends.
Dismissed from his practice for misconduct, the doctor doles out medical advice to the other tenants of Bozo’s lodging house.
A London organ grinder.
A London lodging house man who is an alumnus of Eton, a prestigious British school. He recognizes in Orwell a man of quality, like himself, and he takes great pride in being more educated than his fellow tramps.
An old London minister who, after serving tramps free tea, gives passionate sermons about the importance of being saved. Brother Bootle is abused mercilessly by the tramps.
A Catholic Charity Worker
Hands out tea and buns to the homeless of London while lecturing them on the Christian lifestyle.
A Female Tramp
Fattish, battered, a woman of sixty who holds herself apart from the male tramps and considers herself above them.
The Tramp Major
The soldierly, forty-something manager of a London spike, he treats Orwell with respect when he discovers he’s a gentleman by birth.
A British “beggar of the old breed,” Bill is strong as Hercules and allergic to work. He gets by through mooching and drinking and is proud of it.
William and Fred
Scallywag tramps who, according to Orwell, give other tramps a bad name through trickery and stealing.
A hairy Scottish tramp with a Cockney/Glaswegian accent.
A Superior Tramp
A young carpenter with literary tastes whom Orwell meets in a London spike. He considers tramps “scum.”
A young prostitute who is raped by Charlie.