The Longest Memory


Fred D’Aguiar

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The Longest Memory Characters


Whitechapel, the protagonist of the novel, is the oldest and most trusted slave on Mr. Whitechapel’s plantation. He is married to a young slave named Cook and has an illegitimate, half-black son named Chapelread analysis of Whitechapel


Chapel, the son that Whitechapel raises as his own, is in fact the result of Sanders Senior’s rape of the young slave Cook. However, this parentage plays no role in the young boy’s… read analysis of Chapel

Mr. Whitechapel

The master on the plantation, Mr. Whitechapel believes that he treats his slave with fairness and respect. Despite his conviction that blacks are inherently inferior to whites, Mr. Whitechapel trusts that his Christian beliefs, which… read analysis of Mr. Whitechapel


Unlike her father, Mr. Whitechapel, Lydia is firmly committed to racial justice and equality. Her desire to teach Chapel to read and write demonstrates her capacity to translate her ideals into action, as she… read analysis of Lydia


Cook is Whitechapel’s wife and Chapel’s biological mother. She is a loving, caring family member who takes pleasure in making her family happy. Despite her respect for her husband’s opinions, she is not… read analysis of Cook
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Editor of The Virginian

Despite his pretense of promoting a balanced view on a variety of topics concern slavery, the editor of the local newspaper, The Virginian, is racist and clearly believes that blacks (especially slaves, but also… read analysis of Editor of The Virginian

Sanders Junior

Although Sanders Junior shows promise as a young boy seemingly interested in interrogating the moral roots racism and slavery, as an adult overseer, he ultimately replicates Sanders Senior’s propensity for violence. However, he proves… read analysis of Sanders Junior

Sanders Senior

Sanders Senior was the overseer at Mr. Whitechapel’s plantation before Sanders Junior, his son, took over. After the death of his wife, Caroline, Sanders Senior feels lonely and generally depressed about his… read analysis of Sanders Senior

Plantation Owners

Mr. Whitechapel’s acquaintances, a group of unnamed men, mock his beliefs in treating slaves humanely. Instead, they advocate stern discipline on the plantation, seem to take pleasure in violent punishments, and feel strong hatred… read analysis of Plantation Owners

Whitechapel’s Great-Granddaughter

Whitechapel’s great-granddaughter feels pity and compassion for her grandfather, whom she knows has been suffering terribly since the death of his son, Chapel. Her recollections of the times Whitechapel used to wash her… read analysis of Whitechapel’s Great-Granddaughter

Whitechapel’s Grandson

One of Whitechapel’s grandsons inadvertently runs into him, knocking him to the ground, when trying to escape an authority figure who is about to beat him. Although the boy’s motives remain unclear, Whitechapel becomes… read analysis of Whitechapel’s Grandson


Thomas is Lydia’s brother and Mr. Whitechapel’s son, who travels to the North for business. Upon his return, he tells his sister about the difference in social behavior there, where some blacks are… read analysis of Thomas

The deputy

The second-in-command on Mr. Whitechapel’s plantation. He is Mr. Whitechapel’s trusted lieutenant. However, on the night when Chapel is captured after running away from the plantation, the deputy is not on the plantation because… read analysis of The deputy
Minor Characters
Sanders Senior’s late wife, Caroline, is only recalled through her husband memory, which presents her as a beloved, gentle wife.