Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The young boy

The young boy, an unnamed war refugee whose wanderings through Eastern Europe (from ages six to twelve) constitute whatever plot the novel can be said to contain. He has no history when his parents, fearful of Nazi reprisals, send him to the country for safekeeping. His first contact is soon lost. As the boy wanders from village to village, as slave or indentured servant to various peasant families, he witnesses scenes of increasing violence and cruelty. His own education follows from these episodes, as he tries to figure out how the world operates and what laws, if any, govern it. When the brutality becomes too much, the boy loses his voice and becomes mute; there is apparently nothing to be said in response to the cruelty here. At the end, reunited with his parents, the boy begins to speak; there is perhaps hope after all. The only real development in what seems a meaningless and disconnected series of cruel and violent incidents in the novel is, in fact, the quest the child makes for some kind of meaningful value system for himself. His selfishness at the beginning—clearly necessary for survival in this world of fear and ignorance—gives way by the end of the novel to a kind of personal self-determination.

Marta

Marta, a crippled, superstitious old woman with whom the young boy first lives. After Marta dies of natural causes, the boy accidentally sets fire to her house and burns her body in the conflagration.

Olga

Olga, a wise old woman...

(The entire section is 627 words.)

The Painted Bird Characters

Although Kosinski has drawn to some extent upon his own experiences as a child in wartime Europe in creating The Painted Bird, Cameron...

(The entire section is 625 words.)

The Painted Bird Character Analysis

The Painted Bird A Boy

The narrator and central character is a six-year-old Jewish boy at the beginning of the novel. He chronicles his life for the next six years...

(The entire section is 362 words.)

The Painted Bird Gavrila

Gavrila is a political officer from the Red Army regiment that encamps near the boy's village. After the regiment arrives, the boy stays with...

(The entire section is 408 words.)

The Painted Bird Mitka

Mitka is a sharpshooting instructor and a crack sniper from the Red Army regiment that encamps near the boy's village. He, along with his...

(The entire section is 248 words.)

The Painted Bird Other Characters

Anton
Villagers call Makar's twenty-year-old son, Anton, "Quail," "because he was like that bird in his habit of...

(The entire section is 1340 words.)