Who are the main characters in Neil Gaiman's novel for young readers titled The Graveyard Book?

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The main characters in The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman’s novel for young readers, include the following persons (and/or creatures):

  • Jack, a mysterious figure who murders the parents and sister of the main character while intending to murder the main character himself.
  • Nobody (“Bod”) Owens, the main character, who as an infant escaped being murdered by Jack because he had wandered off to a nearby graveyard as the murders were taking place.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Owens, dead residents of the graveyard who adopt Jack at the urging of Jack’s recently murdered parents.
  • Scarlett Amber Perkins, a young (living) girl who befriends young Bod when she is playing in the graveyard. She leaves his life temporarily but eventually plays an important part in its later developments.
  • Silas, a dead resident of the graveyard who has special powers and who becomes a mentor and protector of Bod.
  • The Sleer, a snake-like creature who guards old treasure and who ultimately disposes of Jack.
  • Miss Lupescu, another mentor and protector who teaches Bod a highly useful skill that will later help him survive. In a different form, she also helps him much more practically in a time of great need.
  • Liza Hempstock, a dead witch whom Bod tries to help, thereby creating dangerous trouble for himself.
  • Abanazer Bolger, an unscrupulous character whom Bod meets while trying to help Liza.
  • Mr. Frost, a man who at first seems helpful but who later turns out to be the original killer, Jack. When Frost is ultimately disposed of by the Sleer, the event is described as follows:

He was shouting wildly, desperately, shouting at Bod to call the thing off, to save him, please, please . . . and then the man’s face was pulled through the wall, and the voice was silenced.

Eventually Bod leaves the graveyard, says good-bye to his dead adoptive mother (Mrs. Owens), and sets out on the journey into the rest of his life.

Gaiman's novel employs characters who resemble time-honored archetypes (the young hero, the evil villain, the good friend, the loving mother, the frightening monster, the appealing heroine), and the book ends as many works involving "the hero's journey" often do: with yet another journey.

 

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