The novel's protagonist, Pecola is an eleven-year-old black girl from an abusive home. She believes she is ugly and suffers the cruelty of her parents, classmates, and other individuals in the community. She desires blue… read analysis of Pecola Breedlove
The narrator of parts of the novel, Claudia is a strong-willed and passionate nine-year-old black girl. Still young, Claudia has not experienced overt racism and violence to the extent many of the novel's other characters… read analysis of Claudia MacTeer
Claudia's older sister, Frieda is ten-years-old and possesses the same independence and resilience as Claudia. Frieda loves Shirley Temple and other white actresses, sharing the community's belief that whiteness is the paragon of beauty and… read analysis of Frieda MacTeer
Pecola's father, Cholly is a violent and severely damaged man. From a young age Cholly has been free—his mother left him on a trash heap as an infant, and his caretaker dies when he is… read analysis of Cholly Breedlove
Known by the Macteer girls as Mr. Henry, Henry, he is a boarder at the MacTeer residence. He has a reputation as a hard working, quiet man. He was never married, but has a… read analysis of Henry Washington
Pecola's fourteen-year-old brother, Samuel suffers the same abuse as Pecola at the hands of their parents. Samuel, in contrast to his sister, is not afraid to get involved in his parents' arguments and even… read analysis of Samuel Breedlove
China, Poland, and Miss Marie
These women are the local prostitutes in Loraine, Ohio. The community knows Miss Marie as the Maginot Line. The women live together in an apartment above the Breedloves. Miss Marie is overweight and kind, China… read analysis of China, Poland, and Miss Marie
A "high yellow dream child", as Claudia calls her, Maureen is a mulatto girl from a wealthy family. She moves to Loraine in the winter, interrupting the tedium of the long winter months. She wears… read analysis of Maureen Peal
A light skinned black woman from the south, Geraldine considers herself and her family superior to other black families. She keeps her house immaculately clean and is obsessed with the physical appearance of her home… read analysis of Geraldine
Geraldine's son, known as Junior, is an arrogant and entitled young boy. He feels ownership of the school playground across the street from his house, and forces other children to play with him. He… read analysis of Louis Junior
A light skinned West Indian man, Soaphead Church is a self-proclaimed misanthrope. After failing as a preacher, he deems himself a "Reader, Adviser, and Interpreter of Dreams", and provides counsel to community members. He detests… read analysis of Soaphead Church
Claudia and Frieda's mother, Mrs. MacTeer is a stern but loving mother. She has a penchant for singing blues songs, gossiping with her friends, and fussing about her house and children.
Claudia and Frieda's father, Mr. MacTeer works hard to keep the house warm in cold weather, and ensure his family is clothed and fed. He is fiercely protective of his family, and does not hesitate to use force when someone threatens them.
Claudia and Frieda's next-door neighbor, Rosemary is white and comes from a family with more wealth than the MacTeers. Rosemary antagonizes the MacTeer girls, and tries to get them in trouble, sometimes provoking them to beat her up in the process.
Cholly's great aunt who raises him after his mother abandons him, but who dies when he is still young.
Cholly's father, who left him as a baby and refuses to have a relationship with him.
A father figure to Cholly who works as a drayman.
An elderly medicine woman working in the community where Cholly grows up, she diagnoses Aunt Jimmy while she is sick.