Lauren is the main character of the novel, which is told through her perspective in the form of her diary entries. At the beginning of the narrative she is 15, and in the final chapter… (read full character analysis)
Lauren’s father is rarely referred to by name, and we never learn his first name. He is an African-American Baptist minister, college professor, and dean, who works at a college near his gated community in… (read full character analysis)
Cory is Lauren’s stepmother. She is Mexican-American, and runs the neighborhood school. Of all her children, Keith is Cory’s favorite, which Lauren finds surprising. Cory and Lauren get along well, but after Keith begins… (read full character analysis)
Bankole is a 57-year-old African-American man who joins Lauren’s group on the road north. Trained as a medical doctor, he is a widower who is on his way to Mendocino, where he owns a… (read full character analysis)
Keith is Lauren’s brother, the eldest son of Reverend Olamina and Cory. He is 12 when the book starts and is stubborn, reckless, and often cruel. He is desperate to grow up quickly… (read full character analysis)
Joanne is Lauren’s best friend in the neighborhood. The two are close, but a rift forms between them when Lauren tries to tell Joanne about her fears for the future. Joanne is less courageous… (read full character analysis)
Travis is an African-American man who Lauren meets while on the walk north. He the husband of Natividad and father of Dominic. He was taught to read by his mother, a maid who would… (read full character analysis)
Natividad is Travis’s wife and the mother of Dominic. She worked as a maid for the same employer as Travis and his mother, until the employer began sexually harassing her and they decided… (read full character analysis)
Christopher Charles Morpeth Donner is a presidential candidate at the beginning of the book, and is elected while Lauren is still living in the neighborhood. Some characters hope that Donner will deliver on his promise… (read full character analysis)
Harry is a white man from Lauren’s neighborhood who was Joanne’s boyfriend, and is one of the only people who survives the massacre. He joins Lauren and Zahra on the walk north, eventually… (read full character analysis)
Allie is a 24-year-old white woman rescued from a collapsed building by Lauren and her group. Allie and her sister, Jill, ran away from their father, who forced them into prostitution and killed Allie’s… (read full character analysis)
Mrs. Sims is an elderly white woman in Lauren’s neighborhood. Deeply religious and openly racist, Mrs. Sims is rude to the non-white residents of the community. After suffering a series of traumatic events, Mrs… (read full character analysis)
Tracy Dunn is Amy Dunn’s mother. She was raped for years by her uncle, resulting in her becoming pregnant at 12 with Amy. Tracy has difficulty expressing love for Amy, but after Amy dies… (read full character analysis)
Wardell Parrish is a relative of Mrs. Sims who moves into her house after she dies. He is a widower. He is an unkind and suspicious person who tries to get the police to arrest… (read full character analysis)
Curtis is Lauren’s boyfriend in the neighborhood. His exact age is not specified, though he seems to be roughly the same age as Lauren, and he is also African-American. He expresses hopes of marrying… (read full character analysis)
Richard Moss is an African-American man who lives in Lauren’s neighborhood. He practices his own, deeply sexist religion—an amalgamation of traditional West African beliefs and Old Testament teachings. He works for a water company… (read full character analysis)
Emery is a 23-year-old woman who joins Lauren’s group on the road. She is half African-American, half Japanese, and was formerly married to a Mexican man, with whom she has three children: Tori and… (read full character analysis)
Alexandra is Bankole’s sister. She is 40 years old and is married to Don Casey, with whom she has three children. They live on Bankole’s property in Mendocino, although by the time the Earthseed… (read full character analysis)
We learn very little about Lauren’s mother other than the fact that she was a drug addict who died giving birth to Lauren.
Marcus is Lauren’s second-oldest brother. He and Lauren get on well, and Lauren describes him as very handsome. He is killed at the age of the 11 when the neighborhood is destroyed.
Bennett is another of Lauren’s younger brothers. He is killed at the age of 9 when the neighborhood is destroyed.
Gregory is Lauren’s youngest brother. He is killed at the age of 8 when the neighborhood is destroyed.
Amy Dunn is a three-year-old girl living in Lauren’s neighborhood. Her mother, Tracy, was only 13 when Amy was born, and Lauren writes that Amy was unloved. Amy is killed by accident when someone from outside shoots through the neighborhood gate.
Rosalee Payne is Wardell’s sister. She is a widow who moves into Mrs. Sims’ house. She is killed along with her children when the house is set on fire.
Peter Moss is one of Richard Moss’s sons. Lauren dislikes him because he tries to be like his father.
Michael is Curtis’s brother. Lauren finds him lying dead after the neighborhood massacre.
Bianca is a 17-year-old Latina girl in Lauren’s neighborhood who gets pregnant and decides to marry her boyfriend. Lauren cannot decide whether this decision is “stupid” or “brave”; in any case, Bianca represents a foil (contrast) to Lauren’s decision to not get married or have children.
Dominic “Domingo” Douglas
Dominic is a baby, the son of Travis and Natividad.
Jillian (Jill) Gilchrist
Jill is Allie’s 25-year-old sister. Like Allie, she was forced into prostitution by their father before running away, and joins Lauren’s group after being rescued from the collapsed building. Jill is shot by an unknown attacker while carrying Tori to safety.
Justin is a three-year-old white boy who Bankole finds when Justin’s mother is killed in an attack. He was born in Riverside, California, and is adopted into the Earthseed community after Bankole discovers him.
Don is Alexandra’s husband, and Bankole’s brother-in-law.
Tori is Emery’s 9-year-old daughter. Like her mother, she also has hyperempathy.
Grayson is an Afro-Latino man who joins Lauren’s group after Emery’s daughter Tori befriends his daughter, Doe. Grayson and Doe were both formerly enslaved and both have hyperempathy. They settle on Acorn with the rest of the group.
Doe is Grayson’s daughter. She is 8 years old.