Gravity's Rainbow | Study Guide

Thomas Pynchon

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Gravity's Rainbow | Characters

Character Description
Tyrone Slothrop Lt. Tyrone Slothrop is in the American Army and is stationed in London during World War II. He works for Allied intelligence in an organization called ACHTUNG. Read More
Captain Blicero Captain Blicero's real name is Weissmann, but in the SS he gave himself the name Blicero, which is a name for death. Read More
Katje Borgesius Katje is from the Netherlands, and she collaborated with Dutch and German Nazis before crossing over to the Allied side. Read More
Enzian Oberst Enzian is a Herero from German South West Africa and the leader of the Schwarzkommando in Germany. His name was given to him by his German lover Blicero, after a Rilke poem mentioning gentian flowers ("Enzian" in German). Read More
Pointsman Edward W.A. "Ned" Pointsman is a behavioral psychologist who works at the White Visitation for the PISCES organization. Read More
Tchitcherine Vaslav Tchitcherine is a Soviet intelligence officer in Germany. He believes his half-brother Enzian wronged him, and he swears he will get revenge. Read More
Horst Achtfaden Achtfaden worked on the V-2 rocket. He betrays the rocket guidance engineer Klaus Närrisch.
Andreas Andreas is a member of Enzian's Schwarzkommando.
Bianca A pouty child performer, Bianca is the daughter of film actor Margherita Erdmann and perhaps Miklos Thanatz.
Lyle Bland Bland, Slothrop's uncle, conspired with Slothrop's father to allow Jamf to experiment on him as an infant.
Teddy Bloat Bloat is a conniving and false friend of Tantivy Mucker-Maffick's.
Seaman Bodine Bodine is a friend of Slothrop's who gets into trouble with him throughout the novel. Slothrop infiltrated the makeshift White House in Potsdam to retrieve Bodine's hidden hashish.
Hilary Bounce An officer in the British army, Captain Bounce answers some of Slothrop's questions about the V-2 rocket.
Säure Bummer Berlin drug dealer Emil Bummer's nickname is "Säure," German for "acid." Taken together, his nickname and surname mean "acid bummer," which is slang for a bad experience on LSD.
Byron the Bulb A freak of manufacturing, Byron is an immortal light bulb whose filament will never burn out.
Clayton "Bloody" Chiclitz Chiclitz is a racist friend of Major Marvy's.
Christian Christian is a member of Enzian's Schwarzkommando.
The colonel The colonel is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and he serves in the U.S. Army.
Darlene Darlene is a nurse who lives in poverty-stricken East London with the aged Mrs. Quoad. She has a few romantic dalliances with Slothrop and is one of the stars on his map.
Sir Stephen Dodson-Truck In the French Riviera, Dodson-Truck instructs Slothrop on rockets and monitors his reactions.
Margherita Erdmann A star of silent movies, the masochistic "Greta" Erdmann is mentally unbalanced by the time Slothrop meets her. She once thought she was a goddess, and she seems to have sacrificed children in this delusion.
Carroll Eventyr Eventyr is a medium at the White Visitation who contacts the spirits of the dead.
Osbie Feel Osbie grows psychoactive mushrooms on Pirate's rooftop and joins the counterforce. His unusual name and his drug interests recall those of Owsley Stanley, the chemist who made LSD for the Grateful Dead and other 1960s musicians and celebrities.
Roland Feldspath Once a V-2 rocket engineer, Feldspath is now a dead spirit contacted by Carroll Eventyr.
Professor Glimpf Glimpf helps Slothrop escape Major Marvy in Mittelwerk.
Milton Gloaming Gloaming works with the White Visitation and understands something about statistics. He later joins the counterforce.
Frau Gnahb Frau Gnahb is a black market trader on the Oder River. She rescues Slothrop from the Anubis during a storm.
Gottfried Gottfried is a young man Blicero sacrifices for his 00000 rocket. His pale good looks make him Blicero's favorite. He was Blicero's captive in a house in the woods.
Grigori Grigori is an octopus trained by Pointsman to attack Katje Borgesius so that Slothrop can save her and fall in love with her.
Gustav Gustav is a composer Slothrop meets in Berlin.
Thomas Gwenhidwy Gwenhidwy is a Welsh doctor who works in East London alongside Kevin Spectro. Later he joins the counterforce.
Laszlo Jamf Dr. Laszlo Jamf is a Swiss chemist, professor of chemistry, and inventor of the plastic polymer called Imipolex G. While a visiting professor at Harvard, he experimented on infant Tyrone Slothrop.
Jeremy Jeremy, also called Beaver, is the stodgy British boyfriend of Roger Mexico's lover Jessica Swanlake. He is dull but reliable, and Jessica ultimately chooses him over Roger.
Albert Krypton Krypton is a colleague of Seaman Bodine's who helps Slothrop escape in Cuxhaven.
Ludwig Slothrop meets Ludwig, a boy who has lost his pet Lemming, in Germany. Later he tags along with Enzian and the Schwarzkommando.
Maria Enzian and the Schwarzkommando unsuccessfully try to save Maria from the Empty Ones.
Major Marvy Major Marvin Marvy is a fat, racist American officer. He colludes with General Electric in acquiring Nazi rocket technology, and he tries to destroy Slothrop.
Roger Mexico Roger Mexico is a statistician who works at the White Visitation. He is in love with Jessica Swanlake.
Karl Mondaugen Mondaugen is an old school friend of Franz Pökler's who gets him excited about rocket research.
Morituri Ensign Morituri is from Hiroshima, Japan, where he returns after the war in Europe ends. He did some kamikaze training for the Japanese air force and then became a propagandist in Germany.
Clive Mossmoon Clive is the husband of Scorpia Mossmoon; he works at a chemical company.
Scorpia Mossmoon Scorpia is the wife of Clive Mossmoon; she had an affair with Pirate Prentice.
Tantivy Mucker-Maffick An Englishman who works alongside Slothrop in ACHTUNG, Lt. Oliver "Tantivy" Mucker-Maffick is Slothrop's true friend.
Klaus Närrisch Närrisch is a guidance expert on the 00000 rocket. He helps Slothrop rescue von Göll from Tchitcherine.
Josef Ombindi Ombindi is a leader of the Herero group called the Empty Ones. They are in favor of racial suicide.
Lord Blatherard Osmo Osmo works for the Foreign Office in England. Pirate has Osmo's fantasy about a giant adenoid, freeing Osmo to concentrate on government.
Otto Otto is Frau Gnahb's son. He assists Slothrop and the others in the rescue of von Göll.
Pavel Enzian and the Schwarzkommando unsuccessfully try to save Maria, Pavel's wife, from the Empty Ones.
Pfc. Eddie Pensiero Eddie Pensiero is an "amphetamine enthusiast" in the U.S. Army who uses an odd technique to give his colonel a haircut.
Franz Pökler Franz is a rocket scientist who works at Peenemünde. The Nazis keep his daughter captive to ensure he keeps working.
Ilse Pökler Ilse is Franz and Leni's daughter. She (or her substitute) is allowed annual visits to see Franz.
Leni Pökler Leni is Franz's wife and Ilse's mother. She was the lover of Peter Sachsa, and she is kept captive in Dora with Ilse.
Pirate Prentice Captain Geoffrey "Pirate" Prentice has the ability to experience other people's fantasies, relieving them of the psychic labor of fantasizing. He has put this talent in the service of British intelligence.
Brigadier Pudding Ernest Pudding is nominally in charge of the White Visitation. However, he has become a doddering fool by the time of the novel and is really controlled by Pointsman.
Džaqyp Qulan Džaqyp Qulan is a Kazakh and Tchitcherine's faithful companion in Central Asia.
Mrs. Quoad Mrs. Quoad is an old woman who lives with Darlene, a lover of Slothrop's in London. She loves wine jellies and other "disgusting English candy."
Walter Rathenau Walter Rathenau is a dead foreign minister Peter Sachsa attempts to contact in a séance for a group of Nazis.
Red Red shines shoes at the Roseland Ballroom. "Red" is a nickname, and his "true name is Malcolm"—Malcolm X.
Nicolai Ripov In what may be a hallucination, Ripov interrogates Tchitcherine about Enzian.
Dr. Géza Rózsavölgyi Dr. Géza Rózsavölgyi is a psychologist at the White Visitation. Later he joins the counterforce.
Peter Sachsa A former medium in Weimar Germany, Sachsa is now dead. He is Carroll Eventyr's "control" or guide to the spirit world.
Sir Marcus Scammony Scammony is a colleague and lover of Clive Mossmoon's. Together they discuss what should be done about Pointsman and Slothrop.
Schnorp Schnorp, a pie smuggler, gives Slothrop a ride to Berlin in his balloon.
Mario Schweitar Schweitar is an employee of the chemical company Sandoz. He informs Slothrop that Jamf is dead.
Semyavin Semyavin, a Russian, is "the local Waxwing rep" in Zürich.
Sigmund Sigmund is Margherita Erdmann's former husband. He tried to help her cure her mental illness.
Webley Silvernail Silvernail works with animals in the lab for Ned Pointsman.
Broderick Slothrop Tyrone Slothrop's father, Broderick, accepted money in return for allowing the infant Tyrone to be experimented on.
Nalline Slothrop Nalline Tyrone's mother likes martinis and is on a first-name basis with Ambassador Joseph Kennedy.
William Slothrop A Puritan ancestor of Tyrone's, William had heretical ideas about salvation. The novel ends with a hymn he wrote.
Kevin Spectro Dr. Kevin A. Spectro is a neurologist who works at St. Veronica's Hospital in a ward for shell-shocked soldiers. Along with Pointsman and five others, he co-owns a rare copy of a book of Pavlov's lectures.
Squalidozzi Franco Squalidozzi is an Argentine anarchist who hires Slothrop to deliver a message.
Basher St. Blaise St. Blaise is a pilot in Lübeck who sees a huge angel from his plane.
Stefania Slothrop meets Stefania onboard the Anubis. She lends him clothes and tells him Margherita is married to Thanatz.
Jessica Swanlake Jessica is in the English military in London. She has a passionate affair with Roger Mexico, but ultimately she chooses her reliable boyfriend, Jeremy.
Tamara Tamara is involved in a deal with Blodgett Waxwing; she drives a tank into a party.
Miklos Thanatz Thanatz is the husband of the volatile actor Margherita Erdmann. He and Margherita were touring performers during the war, and they performed for Blicero's rocket battery.
Edwin Treacle Edwin Treacle is a psychic researcher at the White Visitation.
Gavin Trefoil Gavin Trefoil is a man at the White Visitation who can alter his skin color at will.
Geli Tripping Geli is a self-described witch and the girlfriend of Tchitcherine.
Stefan Utgarthaloki Utgarthaloki is the host of a party Roger attends. He was once a manager for the Krupp arms manufacturing company in Germany.
Frans van der Groov Frans is an ancestor of Katje's who played a part in the extinction of the dodos in the Dutch colony of Mauritius. He had a religious vision in which dodos begged to be converted to Christianity.
Gerhard von Göll Also known by the alias Der Springer, von Göll is a filmmaker who directed Margherita Erdmann in several quasi-pornographic horror movies. After the war, von Göll undertakes a project for the Argentinian anarchists, filming the national epic Martín Fierro.
Blodgett Waxwing Waxwing is a black marketer who gives Slothrop a new identity.
Wimpe Wimpe is a traveling German drug salesman specializing in opioids.
Major Zhdaev Major Zhdaev is a Russian friend of von Göll's.
Richard M. Zhlubb Zhlubb is the manager of the Orpheus Theatre in Los Angeles in the 1960s or 1970s.
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