Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Jonathan Adams Upchurch

Jonathan Adams Upchurch, a nineteen-year-old Boston schoolmaster. An intellectually restless and curious young man, he is determined to save enough money to purchase a farm in Illinois, but, in an uncharacteristic moment of drunken jubilation, he buys a small sailboat and ends up on the whaling ship Jerusalem. Although walleyed and a lifelong landsman, he is strong and capable and soon becomes one of the ship’s crew. After discovering that the Jerusalem is a mystery ship, Jonathan follows clues that lead only to deeper complexities. Jonathan’s childhood fascination with Miranda Flint, the daughter of famed mesmerist Dr. Luther Flint, is reawakened by Augusta Dirge, the daughter of the Jerusalem’s captain.

Dr. Luther Flint

Dr. Luther Flint, a famed mesmerist, a large, imposing man with a fierce mustache, an imperious manner, and a larcenous nature (he once stole the crown of the king of Sweden). Through the early years of the nineteenth century, Flint and his young daughter Miranda toured New England, baffling and mystifying audiences with their spectacular and eerie shows. It was at one of these presentations that young Jonathan Upchurch first saw them and fell under the spell of Miranda. Flint’s talents for mystification make him the perfect choice to play the key role in the charade acted out on board the Jerusalem. He controls the ship while disguised as the blind seaman Jeremiah.

Miranda Flint

Miranda Flint, the daughter of Dr. Flint, a young blonde girl with a preternatural manner. In trances during Flint’s stage shows, Miranda recounts tales of her past lives and gives detailed accounts of ancient history.


Jeremiah, the aged, blind companion of Captain Dirge. His long white hair falls to his chest, and his oracular utterings seem to rule the ship, as indeed they do, because he is actually Dr. Flint. His masked but tyrannical hold over the ship and its crew is broken only by his confrontation with Jonathan and his own...

(The entire section is 864 words.)