In Seedfolks, what are Sae Young, Virgil, and Sam's physical appearances? What do we learn about these three?

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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Paul Fleischman's novel Seedfolks is made up of thirteen character vignettes. Each character is connected by the building of a community garden in a vacant lot in their Cleveland, Ohio, neighborhood. 

Sam is the fifth character introduced in this novel. He is described as a seventy-eight-year-old Jewish white man. Here is a quote: "People see I'm friendly, no matter what they've heard about whites or Jews." No other physical description is given of him. Sae Young mentions him, but says only that he is American and smart. Sam is the healer in the garden. He is retired, and he claims his job now is smiling at others, being friendly, and "sewing up the rips in the neighborhood." He also loves words and studies them as a hobby. 

Virgil is the sixth character introduced in the novel. He is described as Haitian, and his father a first-generation immigrant. Virgil has just completed the fifth grade. Aside from his age and nationality, no other physical description is given. He is very observant and notices his father is unperturbed by the rats that frighten other people in the lot and shocked by how his father lies to his former teacher, Ms. Fleck. He is also disillusioned by his father's lies, stating he'd never seen a grown-up lie before. He has lost some of his innocence with the knowledge that adults lie, too. He is angry because he was counting on getting an eighteen-speed bike with the money his dad would get from selling lettuce. That dream dies with the lettuce. He feels betrayed by his father. 

Sae Young is the seventh character introduced in the novel. She is Korean. She is described as an extrovert, a person who likes being around other people. When she is robbed at gunpoint, she becomes fearful of people and reclusive. When she discovers the garden, she feels connected to people once again and feels she has become part of a family. She speaks broken English and seems relieved to have a dry-cleaning shop because it doesn't require her to speak as much English as owning a restaurant would.