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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The titular character, Dr. Pnin, is a Russian scholar who has an incredible amount of difficulty fitting in to the western world. Not only does Pnin have a poor understanding of the American culture and language but he is also highly eccentric, leading those around him to misunderstand and question his intelligence. He has an obsessive fascination with certain objects, such as things made of plastic.

Liza Wind is Pnin's ex-wife. Having only married Pnin to make another man angry and having a child with yet another man while married to Pnin, she seems undeserving of Pnin's seemingly misplaced affections. The two, however, are more alike than they seem.

Other characters include Victor Wind, who is the Liza's child that Pnin believes is his own, Dr. Hagan, the only faculty member who seems to be fond of Pnin, and the Narrator, who slowly develops a presence in the story, contradicting Pnin's version of events.

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