Andy Mulligan

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Trash makes teaching easy.

Raphael Fernández

A 14-year-old “trash boy” who lives on a landfill called Behala with his auntie and cousins. Like most of the other children in the landfill, Raphael and his best friend, Gardo, spends their… read analysis of Raphael Fernández


A 14-year-old “trash boy” who is Raphael’s best friend and who also lives on the Behala landfill. Gardo is more serious than Raphael (who’s a little more naïve) and he looks after Raphael… read analysis of Gardo

Rat / Jun / Jun-Jun

A dumpsite boy who’s approximately 11 years old. Rat isn’t “lucky” enough to live in the shanty town that’s built on the dumpsite because he has no family there, so he sleeps in a wet… read analysis of Rat / Jun / Jun-Jun

Senor Zapanta (vice-president)

The story’s antagonist. Senator Zapanta is a corrupt, “fat” politician who lives in a luxurious gated compound while the citizens of his country live in squalor. Zapanta is portrayed as the story’s most despicable thief… read analysis of Senor Zapanta (vice-president)

José Angelico

A 33-year-old man who is killed by the police during an interrogation just before the start of the story. Although José Angelico dies before the novel’s action, he is central to the plot. José Angelico… read analysis of José Angelico
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Olivia Weston (Sister Olivia)

A kindhearted 22-year-old British volunteer at the Pascal Aguila Mission School on the Behala landfill. Olivia originally travelled to the city in which the story is set to go surfing, but she ultimately decided to… read analysis of Olivia Weston (Sister Olivia)

Gabriel Olondriz

An elderly, frail political prisoner at Colva Prison. Decades ago, Gabriel Olondriz attempted to expose a corrupt politician named Senator Zapanta, but he was imprisoned instead. Raphael, a young boy from the Behala… read analysis of Gabriel Olondriz

Pia Dante Angelico

An eight-year-old girl who is orphaned when her father, José Angelico, is killed in a police interrogation. Pia is abandoned in the city graveyard by her foster family after her father fails to show… read analysis of Pia Dante Angelico

Father Juilliard

A 63-year-old volunteer who runs the Pascal Aguila Mission School on the Behala landfill. Father Juilliard longs to make a difference in the miserable lives of the dumpsite kids, but he recognizes that attempting to… read analysis of Father Juilliard

Frederico Gonz

A gravestone-maker who narrates a brief chapter to say that a man named José Angelico approached him to make a gravestone for his daughter, Pia Dante. Unbeknownst to Frederico Gonz, the gravestone contains a… read analysis of Frederico Gonz

Tired man

A police detective in search of Senator Zapanta’s stolen fortune. The tired man brutally interrogates Raphael, violently choking him and threatening to break Raphael’s bones one by one—but he is unsuccessful in getting… read analysis of Tired man
Minor Characters
A maid for the corrupt Senator Zapanta. She narrates a short chapter to say that she knew Senator Zapanta’s servant José Angelico and she thought Angelico was a “kind” man.
A corrupt prison guard who’s in possession of political prisoner Gabriel Olondriz’s coded Bible. Marco demands a hefty bribe from Raphael, Gardo, and Rat in exchange for the Bible, and he unsuccessfully attempts to double-cross them after accepting the bribe.
An employee on Senator Zapanta’s compound. The gardener gleefully informs Raphael and Rat that Zapanta is livid because José Angelico stole $6,000,000 from Zapanta’s private vault and smuggled it out in a broken fridge.
Raphael’s auntie
A woman who lives on the city’s landfill in a shack along with her children and her nephew Raphael. She inadvertently draws attention to Raphael when the police are hunting for a bag in the landfill, which results in his arrest and violent interrogation.
Station boys
A group of homeless children who control the city’s central train terminal, fighting off other children who attempt to hustle there. Rat, Raphael, and Gardo have to bribe the station boys for access to a luggage locker containing clues to Senator Zapanta’s stolen fortune.
Mr. Oliva
An employee at Colva Prison who demands a large bribe from Olivia Weston when she visits the prison with Gardo.
Dante Jerome
The son of political prisoner Gabriel Olondriz. Dante Jerome was a passionate advocate for the poor and he adopted 33 street children (José Angelico among them) to save them from poverty.
Maria Angelico
José Angelico’s wife who died long before the events of Trash.
Jose Angelico’s son
José Angelico’s son who died at a young age.
The impromptu leader of the community that lives on the Behala landfill.
A columnist for the Daily Star newspaper who writes an article criticizing Senator Zapanta.
Olivia’s father
The wealthy father of Olivia Weston. He negotiates with the British Embassy to secure Olivia’s release from prison.
Pascal Aguila
An activist or “freedom fighter” for the impoverished. Aguila is assassinated after exposing three politicians for corruption. Pascal Aguila’s family members are longstanding benefactors for the Mission School on the city’s landfill; the school bears Aguila’s name.