The young woman writer
The young woman writer in "Epilogue: Women Like Us" serves as an autobiographical stand-in for Danticat who is also a writer exploring her Haitian ancestry through writing. Society tells the writer that cooking and caretaking are the most important acts for women. However, the young woman writer learns that writing is her own way of honoring her female ancestors.
Caroline treasures her family's Haitian culture and traditions despite the fact that she is planning to marry a man who is not from the same culture. Caroline explains to her mother that she plans to pass on traditions to her children that her mother values. The understanding that Caroline and her mother build is a central aspect of "Caroline's Wedding."
The female narrator
The female and male narrators of "Children of the Sea" are two unnamed people who are deeply in love with each other. The male narrator has escaped from Haiti on a boat. The female narrator describes the macoutes or paramilitary soldiers and the sadistic violent acts she witnesses them doing in her community. Both narrators witness violence, misery, and death.
Guy endangers himself and his family when he tries to fulfill his dream of flying a stolen hot air balloon. His doomed efforts represent the often failed efforts of Haitians to transcend their circumstances of poverty and violence. Guy's son's speech over his dead body points to the nobility and tragedy that characterize these doomed efforts.
Josephine begins "Nineteen Thirty-Seven" by recollecting rituals of putting her hands in a river. She does not yet understand the reason for these rituals. Josephine comes to realize that her mother takes her to the river every year to honor the experience of giving birth to Josephine on the night of a massacre that took place there.
The nickname Lamort represents her grandmother's attitude toward her. Mort is French for death, and Lamort's mother died in childbirth. Lamort's grandmother blames Lamort for this, and gives her a nickname to associate her with the death of her mother. Lamort's request to be addressed differently by the end of the story demonstrates her growing independence and self-confidence.
Marie engages in behavior that is alarming to those around her including the authorities. She takes in a dead baby and expresses her hopes, dreams, and frustrations to it. The smell of the dead baby arouses suspicion and she is reported to authorities by another person who works at the same estate Marie works in.
Princesse undergoes significant changes within herself throughout "Seeing Things Simply." When she begins as Catherine's model she is shy and apprehensive. Catherine's support and praise helps Princesse to build confidence as a model and later as an artist herself. Princesse begins to see the world as an artist and to paint the everyday scenes she experiences.
A prostitute is someone who engages in sexual acts in exchange for money. The prostitute in "Night Women" is unnamed. She describes herself as a "night woman" and says that she enjoys more freedom than "day women" who work at more socially acceptable jobs. She loves her son and does not want him to be harmed in any way but she must earn money so that they both can survive.
One day Suzette is surprised to find her mother in the middle of New York City rather than in their Brooklyn neighborhood. She follows her mother around and sees her engaging with people and in places that are completely unexpected to Suzette. Suzette realizes that she has little idea of her mother's daily life. She reconsiders her understanding of her mother's advice, values, and behavior.