The Drowned World


J. G. Ballard

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The Drowned World Characters

Dr. Robert Kerans

Kerans is the protagonist of The Drowned World. He's about 40 years old with a bleached white beard and tan skin that's sunken because of malaria. He was born and raised at Camp Byrd… read analysis of Dr. Robert Kerans


Strangeman is a pirate and a looter who travels through the drowned European cities collecting lost treasures. Because he's albino, he amasses a cult-like following of African crewmembers who worship him because they believe he's… read analysis of Strangeman

Dr. Alan Bodkin

Dr. Bodkin is one of the senior biologists in the unit in London. At 65, he's one of the last people on Earth who remembers living in the cities that are now flooded, and he… read analysis of Dr. Alan Bodkin

Beatrice Dahl

Beatrice Dahl is the only woman living in London. She lives at the top of an apartment building where her rich grandfather used to live. There, she lives a life of luxury, drinking, spending her… read analysis of Beatrice Dahl

Colonel Riggs

Colonel Riggs is one of the military men leading the biological testing station through Europe, though his job also includes rescuing people who are still trying to live in the drowned cities. He's kind and… read analysis of Colonel Riggs
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Lieutenant Hardman

Lieutenant Hardman is Colonel Riggs' primary helicopter pilot. He was once very tall and strong, though the reader never sees him this way because he has become bedridden by the beginning of the novel… read analysis of Lieutenant Hardman
Minor Characters
Sergeant Macready
Kerans describes Sergeant Macready as Colonel Riggs' watchdog. He has an overactive conscience, which Kerans sometimes uses to his advantage. While Kerans is blowing up Strangeman's dam, Macready tries to interfere and dies in the process.
Sergeant Daley
Sergeant Daley is Lieutenant Hardman's second-in-command. He takes over flying the helicopter when Hardman falls ill, though it takes him until the end of the novel to become truly proficient.
A young man who was once Lieutenant Hardman's orderly. Hardman shoots him while he's trying to escape.
The Admiral
The Admiral is one of Strangeman's African crewmembers. He wears a big white hat and is Strangeman's second in command.
Big Caesar
Big Caesar is another of Strangeman's African crewmembers. He's impressively strong and tall and only has one eye.