The Graveyard Book | Study Guide

Neil Gaiman

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The Graveyard Book | Character Analysis


Nobody "Bod" Owens

Nobody "Bod" Owens begins his life in the graveyard as a small boy and grows and changes during his years with the ghosts. He is always curious and wants to learn as much as he can from the other ghosts. His curiosity sometimes leads him to trouble, and he often finds himself in situations that he needs rescuing from. Bod increasingly wants to have relationships with the living and slowly realizes that the dead never change and grow up. Being a living boy, Bod grows up and changes his likes and opinions. The dead remain the same age as when they died at for all eternity. As Bod grows up he learns that he can make a difference to others, and he begins to take actions to positively affect those around him. When he learns that his biological parents were killed by a man named Jack, the seed of revenge is sown into him. That seed first appears when he goes beyond solving the school bully problem to punishing them further to get back at them. His revenge reaches its peak when he kills four Jacks in the graveyard and ends the Jack that killed his parents by using the Sleer as his weapon of revenge. In the end Bod realizes that he needs to leave the graveyard to fully live, knowing that one day he will return to join them again.


Silas is a creature who lives between two worlds. He is neither living nor dead and walks the border between the two. Silas's identity is never known, but many of his traits and actions point to him being a vampire. He eats only one type of food, sleeps upside down in the chapel spire, and can fly. He is also a member of the Honor Guard which is only described as being the "defenders of the borderlands." He can walk amongst the living and be seen by them which allows him to bring much-needed supplies to Bod as he grows up. Silas is very mysterious and never gives away much information about his past or who he is. He disappears often and never divulges where he has gone. His demeanor is one of sadness and loneliness. He is rarely depicted talking to anyone but Bod and he doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. He is the epitome of a loner. Silas's identity is never known, but many of his traits and actions point to him being a vampire. He eats only one type of food, sleeps upside down in the chapel spire, and can fly. He is also a member of the Honor Guard which is only described as being the "defenders of the borderlands." As a guardian to Bod, Silas is loyal and fierce. When Silas must leave, he sends in a worthy replacement. Silas's longest absence is to rid the world of the Jacks who pose the only real threat to Bod.

Scarlett Amber Perkins

Scarlett Amber Perkins first visits the graveyard with her mother when she is five years old. She meets Bod while she is there and spends time with him. They even go down into a dark and scary tomb where Scarlett must trust Bod to keep her safe. Her parents can't see Bod, and Scarlett becomes convinced that Bod is just an imaginary friend. Not long after they meet, Scarlett and her family move away to Scotland. Ten years later Scarlett returns with her mother. Scarlett is angry and upset about having to leave her friends. Bod convinces her that he is not imaginary, and Scarlett realizes that Bod is a real person. She helps Bod through a historian friend to discover the truth about his parents. She inadvertently reveals Bod to the killer Jack. Scarlett changes her feelings dramatically about Bod when she sees what he is capable of in the tomb of the Sleer and thinks that Bod is a monster. Silas decides to wipe out her memory of Bod and the events in the tomb which returns her to a normal person with no memory of the graveyard.


Jack is a mysterious, calculating, and ruthless killer. He begins with the slaughter of Bod's entire family on his quest to kill them all. He has a keen sense of smell and is the ultimate professional killer. He is part of a secret order called The Jacks of All Trade who seem to be negatively involved in much of the politics and goings-on of the world. Jack is initially thwarted in his task of killing Bod's family by unintentionally allowing Bod to escape as a baby. He is unaware that Bod has made it to the graveyard, and he is even more unaware that the inhabitants of the graveyard have given Bod powers to be hidden from Jack. Jack is ultimately alerted to Bod's presence and returns to the town and inhabits the scene of the murder to try to discover where the boy is. Jack finds Bod, but his greed and his high opinion of himself lead to his ultimate demise in the coils of the Sleer in the tomb.

Miss Lupescu

Miss Lupescu is a strict and tough substitute guardian for Bod. She begins her time with Bod by making him eat food he doesn't like and learn lessons that he feels are a waste of time. Some of the lessons she teaches Bod are about calling for help and what night gaunts are. She is a Hound of God and saves Bod from the ghouls. She joins Silas in the quest to destroy all the Jacks to try to keep Bod safe.

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