All the Light We Cannot See | Study Guide

Anthony Doerr

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All the Light We Cannot See | Characters

Character Description
Marie-Laure LeBlanc Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a brave and resourceful blind French girl. She lives in the walled city of Saint-Malo during its WWII German occupation and its liberation by American forces in 1944. Read More
Werner Pfennig Werner Pfennig is an intelligent, gifted German boy who dreams of being a scientist. He is seduced by Nazi propaganda into using his talents to serve the Reich during World War II. Read More
Daniel LeBlanc Daniel LeBlanc is Marie-Laure's loving father and the principal locksmith for the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris. When the city falls to German forces, he acts as a courier for the museum, transporting a legendary diamond to Saint-Malo in Brittany. Read More
Etienne LeBlanc Etienne LeBlanc is Marie-Laure's great-uncle and owns the house at Number 4 rue Vauborel in Saint-Malo, where the girl and her father take refuge during WWII. During the German occupation, Etienne becomes active in the resistance movement. Read More
Frank Volkheimer Staff Sergeant Frank Volkheimer is a giant of a man who heads up the team of radio hunters to which Werner is assigned. He remains Werner's loyal friend long after the war has ended. Read More
Frederick Frederick is Werner's bunkmate at the school at Schulpforta. He's a thin, reedy boy with pale skin and taffy-colored hair who loves birds. Despite his gentle nature, he demonstrates extraordinary strength of character. Read More
Reinhold von Rumpel Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel is a middle-aged German diamond expert and treasure hunter for the Führer. He will go to any lengths to procure the legendary diamond known as the Sea of Flames. Read More
Bäcker Bäcker is a pigeon-toed, 14-year-old cadet in Werner's group at Schulpforta who singles out a boy, "Ernst Somebody," as the weakest in the group and thus someone to be purged.
Bastian Bastian is the warrant officer in charge of field exercises at the school at Schulpforta. He is a cruel, overzealous schoolmaster who dislikes Frederick and targets him for physical and mental destruction.
Hubert Bazin Hubert Bazin, a veteran of the Great War, lost his nose, left ear, and eye to shellfire. Also known as Crazy Hubert Bazin, he wears a mask over half his face. Bazin sleeps in an alcove behind the library in Saint-Malo and receives food from Madame Manec. He shows Marie-Laure a secret grotto under the ramparts of Saint-Malo and gives her the key to its gate.
Walter Bernd Walter Bernd is a German engineer and member of the team assigned to track down illegal radio transmissions. He is "a taciturn, pungent man ... whose pupils are misaligned." When Saint-Malo is bombed, he is trapped with Werner and Volkheimer in the cellar of the Hotel of Bees. There he dies of wounds suffered when the hotel is hit.
Madame Blanchard Madame Blanchard is a member of Madame Manec's resistance group of ladies responsible for writing "Free France Now" on every five-franc note the group can gather.
Dupont Dupont is the lapidary (stonecutter) who cut three replicas of the Sea of Flames diamond for the National Museum of Natural History. They are used as decoys to conceal the true location of the stone.
Ernst Ernst is an ungainly, unexceptional boy identified in Werner's mind as "Ernst Somebody." He is a slow runner picked out by cadet Bäcker as the weakest in their group of 14-year-old cadets and is made to run while being chased by the 59 other boys.
Frau Elena Frau Elena is a kind and gentle Protestant nun from Alsace. She cares for the orphans at the Children's House in the mining town of Zollverein. Werner and Jutta are among those she looks after. Recognizing Werner's intelligence and natural curiosity, she teaches him French and encourages his interest in science.
Fanni Fanni is a maid with baggy arms and a downy face employed at Frederick's home in Berlin.
Siegfried Fischer Siegfried Fischer is a young boy at the Children's House who is fiercely proud of Werner's acceptance to the National Political Institute of Education at Schulpforta. He hopes that, on behalf of all the orphans, Werner will do well and "show them."
Madame Fontineau Madame Fontineau is a florist in Saint-Malo and a member of Madame Manec's resistance group of ladies.
Francis Francis is Marie-Laure's laboratory assistant at the Natural History Museum in 1974. He is present when Jutta brings Marie-Laure the carved model of Etienne's house.
Dr. Geffard Dr. Geffard is an aging mollusk expert at the National Museum of Natural History. He lets Marie-Laure explore his vast collection of seashell specimens. She acquires knowledge of various mollusks and learns to recognize their shells by touch.
François Giannot Monsieur François Giannot is a friend of the National Museum of Natural History's director. When Paris falls to German forces, the director sends Daniel LeBlanc and his daughter Marie-Laure to Giannot's home in Evreux. But the home has been burned and Giannot has fled to London.
Madame Guiboux Madame Guiboux is a member of Madame Manec's resistance group of ladies.
Dr. Hauptmann Dr. Hauptmann is the little, aristocratic professor of technical sciences at Schulpforta. He recognizes Werner's gift for understanding complex electronics and enlists the boy's talent to develop a device that will track down enemy radio transmissions during the war.
Madame Hébrard Madame Hébrard is the postmistress in Saint-Malo and a member of Madame Manec's resistance group of ladies.
Professor Hublin Professor Hublin is the mineralogist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. He is present when Sergeant Major Reinhold von Rumpel forces the assistant director to surrender the Sea of Flames.
Jutta Jutta is Werner Pfennig's sister. Two years younger than he, she is also white-haired, intelligent, curious, and lives in the Children's House. She is imaginative and artistic as well. She is 12 in 1940 when her brother goes off to the National School and fears for the affects of Nazi indoctrination on him.
Henri LeBlanc Henri LeBlanc is Etienne's brother, Daniel's father, and Marie-Laure's grandfather. He died during WWI while protecting his brother. He and Etienne built the radio transmitter in the attic of Number 4 rue Vauborel to broadcast Henri's science lectures for children. These recordings are the ones Werner and Jutta hear in far-off Zollverein. They know Henri as the Professor.
Claude Levitte Claude Levitte, also known as Big Claude, runs a perfumery in Saint-Malo on the rue Vauborel. He watches Daniel LeBlanc pace off the street, study houses, and make notes on a pad, and reports this to the Germans occupying the city. As a result Daniel is arrested.
Madame Manec Madame Manec has cared for Etienne for 20 years, cooking, keeping house, and watching over him during his dark, haunted days. She takes care of Marie-Laure after Daniel disappears. She is short, wears heavy shoes, and has the rough, strong hands of a geologist or a gardener. During the German occupation of Saint-Malo, she organizes a resistance movement.
Michel Michel is the grown-up Marie-Laure's 12-year-old grandson by her daughter Hélène.
Neumann One Neumann One is a "gap-toothed thirty-year-old" driver assigned to help Sergeant Volkheimer and Werner track down enemy radio transmissions. In a world without war, Neumann One might have been a barber, but he dies instead on the beaches of Normandy.
Neumann Two Neumann Two is a "dangerously underweight corporal" who fetches Werner from Schulpforta and delivers him to his first assignment tracking down enemy radio transmissions. In Vienna Neumann Two shoots an innocent mother and child by mistake.
Herribert Pomsel Herribert Pomsel is a 14-year-old boy at Children's House who joins the Hitler Youth in 1936. He is soon corrupted by Nazi ideology.
The Professor The Professor is the "velvet" voice of a young Frenchman picked up by Werner's radio. His science lessons for children awaken in the boy a profound sense of life's possibilities. The lessons are recordings made long ago by Henri LeBlanc and broadcast from Saint-Malo by his brother, Etienne.
Madame Ruelle Madame Ruelle is the baker's wife in Saint-Malo and a member of Madame Manec's resistance group of ladies. She passes coded messages to Madame and, later, to Etienne, printed on tiny scrolls of paper baked into a plain loaf of bread.
Helmut Rödel Helmut Rödel is a small, unpromising cadet at Schulpforta "who keeps his hands balled in fists nearly all his waking hours." During one of commandant Bastian's field exercises, Helmut identifies Frederick as the weakest among the 14-year-old cadets. He is then ordered to beat Frederick with a three-foot-long hose.
Martin Sachse Martin Sachse is a younger boy at Children's House who pesters Werner with questions about his acceptance to the National Political Institute of Education.
Hans Schilzer Hans Schilzer is a 13-year-old boy at Children's House who joins the Hitler Youth in 1936. He is soon corrupted by Nazi ideology.
Herr Rudolf Siedler Herr Rudolf Siedler is a German official stationed in Zollverein. Werner's exceptional skill fixing radios comes to his attention, and he helps Werner gain entrance to the Nazi youth training school at Schulpforta.
Frau Schwartzenberger Frau Schwartzenberger is a Jewess who lives in the same five-story Berlin townhouse as Frederick's parents. Frederick's mother covets Frau Schwartzenberger's top-story apartment and hints that soon the "crone" will be gone and the top floor will be hers.
The Warder The "hunchbacked," elderly warder works as a guide for the Natural History Museum in Paris. It is from him that Marie-Laure first hears the story of the cursed diamond, the Sea of Flames.
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