The Sellout


Paul Beatty

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The Narrator

The narrator is the main character of the book. We never learn his first name, although we know that his last name is Mee, that his childhood nickname was “Bonbon,” and that Foy Cheshire calls… read analysis of The Narrator

The Narrator’s Father

The narrator’s father is a psychologist, the founder and only practitioner of a school of thought he calls “Liberation Psychology.” He is dedicated to improving the lives of black people, and is known as… read analysis of The Narrator’s Father

Marpessa Delissa Dawson

Marpessa is the narrator’s childhood sweetheart and on/off girlfriend. She grew up in Dickens and, like the narrator, enjoyed going to Hominy’s house to watch Little Rascals movies as a child. She is… read analysis of Marpessa Delissa Dawson

Foy Cheshire

Foy Cheshire is an academic, “fading TV personality,” and the cofounder of the Dum Dum Donut Intellectuals. He is extraordinarily vain, and although his work centers around black people, he seems more interested in becoming… read analysis of Foy Cheshire

Hominy Jenkins

Hominy is an elderly man and extreme manifestation of the “Uncle Tom” figure (a reference to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin). A former child actor and the last living member of the “Little… read analysis of Hominy Jenkins
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The Black Justice

The black Justice on the Supreme Court is never named, but only identified by his race. He is horrified by the idea of the narrator keeping a slave because he believes in progress and “the… read analysis of The Black Justice

Laurel Lescook

Laurel Lescook is the narrator’s mother. He grew up not knowing her, and the only information he had about her was from an article in Jet magazine when she was named “Beauty of the… read analysis of Laurel Lescook
Minor Characters
Hampton Fiske
Hampton is the narrator’s lawyer. He dresses in 1970s attire and dedicates himself to representing the “Wretched of the Earth” in court. The narrator admires his skills as an attorney, and Hampton ends up winning the Supreme Court case Me v. the United States of America.
Kilo G
Kilo G was a real rapper who appears in the novel under fictional circumstances. The narrator credits him with starting the genre of gangster rap through reciting an altered version of an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem while high on crack and shooting bullets in the air.
Murray Flores
Murray Flores is a crisis negotiator and Police Captain who had been a friend of the narrator’s father. He tells the narrator the truth about his father’s death.
King Cuz
King Cuz, whose real name is Curtis Baxter, is a local gangster and member of the Dum Dum Donut Intellectuals. He is enthusiastic about the narrator’s plan to re-segregate Dickens, and has a long-running goal of opening black Chinese restaurants.
Officer Mendez
Officer Mendez is a police officer in Dickens.
MC Panache
MC Panache is another local gangster and the husband of Marpessa. When Marpessa reveals that she has gotten back together with the narrator, Panache says he doesn’t blame her, because he would have sex with the narrator himself if it meant getting to eat the narrator’s delicious fruit.
Laura Jane
Laura Jane is a white actor and part-time submissive whom the narrator hires to dance with Hominy at his birthday party on Marpessa’s bus. She and Marpessa get into an argument about race and class.
Susan Silverman
Susan Silverman is a matchmaker from Sister Cities Global.
Charisma Molina
Charisma is Marpessa’s best friend and the assistant principal of Chaff Middle School. Although she is Mexican-American herself, she is often heard muttering the phrase “Too many Mexicans.” She helps the narrator to re-segregate Dickens, (correctly) assuming that it will improve her school.
Nestor Lopez
Nestor Lopez is a former childhood friend of the narrator’s and another farmer in Dickens. Although he and the narrator were once close, they grew apart with age, “as black and Latin boys are wont to do.”
Sheila Clark
Sheila Clark is a young black student at Chaff Middle School. She enthusiastically participates in the narrator’s presentation on Career Day, volunteering to castrate a calf.
Clyde is the black attendant at the gas station in Mississippi.
Rebecca is the white woman with a penchant for black men whom the narrator’s father seduces in Mississipi.
Stevie Dawson
Stevie Dawson is Marpessa’s brother. He is a gangster who was recently busted out of prison.
Fred Manne
Fred Manne is the courtroom illustrator during the narrator’s Supreme Court hearing. The narrator thinks the illustration Fred does of him is “ugly.”
Topsy / Butterfly Davis
A black sorority girl who attends the LA Festival of Forbidden Cinema and Unabashedly Racist Animation wearing blackface, and later goes home with Hominy and the narrator.
Judge Nguyen
The judge at the narrator's trial, who predicts that the case is bound to go to the Supreme Court.