The Moon is Down


John Steinbeck

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The Moon is Down Characters

Mayor Orden

The mayor of the unnamed town where The Moon Is Down takes place. Orden has been mayor for so long that when the citizens hear the word “mayor,” they immediately think of him. Despite his… read analysis of Mayor Orden

Colonel Lanser

The highest ranking military invader. Colonel Lanser fought in World War I, invading Belgium and France as a young man. Because of this, he has a pessimistic view of “what war really is in the… read analysis of Colonel Lanser

Doctor Winter

The town’s local historian and physician, and Mayor Orden’s confidante. Winter is an intelligent man who has known Orden since boyhood. His intelligence and wisdom arise from his gentle simplicity and penchant for unhurried… read analysis of Doctor Winter

Captain Loft

A captain serving under Colonel Lanser in the military regiment that invades the town. Captain Loft is “as much a captain as one can imagine,” a man who believes that being a soldier is the… read analysis of Captain Loft

Lieutenant Tonder

A lieutenant in the military regiment that invades the town. Tonder first arrives with the starry-eyed naïveté of a young man unprepared for the harsh realities of war, even fantasizing at one point about dying… read analysis of Lieutenant Tonder
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Lieutenant Prackle

Like Lieutenant Tonder, Prackle is an inexperienced young man who assumes his involvement in the military is worthwhile no matter what the cause. He is idealistic and “sensitive,” a man who prides himself in… read analysis of Lieutenant Prackle

Major Hunter

An engineer in the military that invades the town. Major Hunter is more of an arithmetician than a soldier, and spends the vast majority of his time indoors, where he sketches engineering plans for the… read analysis of Major Hunter

George Corell

A man who has lived for some time in the town as a well-liked storekeeper, but who has actually been serving as an informant for the invading military. In addition to telling the invaders which… read analysis of George Corell

Madame (Sarah) Orden

Mayor Orden’s wife. Madame is eternally concerned with making sure her husband is presentable and ready to receive guests. On the day of the town’s invasion, she even busies herself with trimming his ear… read analysis of Madame (Sarah) Orden


The servant in Mayor Orden and Madame Orden’s home. Joseph is obsessive and easily overwhelmed, often making matters more complicated than they need to be. He yearns to have an “opinion” about the invasion—wanting… read analysis of Joseph


Mayor Orden and Madame Orden’s cook. Annie has a strong temper and a fierce spirit, which she displays early on by dumping a pot of boiling water onto a group of soldiers during Colonelread analysis of Annie

Captain Bentick

A member of the invading military. Captain Bentick is a friendly man who’s a bit too old to be a lowly captain, though his unambitious military career doesn’t bother him. Instead, he focuses on other… read analysis of Captain Bentick

Alexander Morden

A coal miner and local villager married to a woman named Molly Morden. While working in the mines one day, Alex refuses to continue, arguing that he’s a free man and thus doesn’t have… read analysis of Alexander Morden

Molly Morden

A local villager who is widowed after her husband, Alexander Morden, is executed by firing squad for having killed Captain Bentick. When Mayor Orden secretly organizes an escape plan for two local men… read analysis of Molly Morden

Will Anders

A local fisherman. Will and his brother Tom steal Mr. Corell’s boat and sail in the dead of night to England. They do so in order to escape the invaders, who are searching for… read analysis of Will Anders

Tom Anders

A local fisherman, and Will Anders’s brother. With Will, Tom escapes the town after Jack Anders—his other brother—is killed for having blown up a car. Also with Will, he is involved in Mayorread analysis of Tom Anders
Minor Characters
Jack Anders
Will and Tom Anders’s brother, who is killed after destroying a car. Jack’s fate forces his brothers to flee the town, since the military hunts down family members of rebellious citizens.