The Women of Brewster Place | Study Guide

Gloria Naylor

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Women of Brewster Place Study Guide." Course Hero. 20 Sep. 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2018. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2017, September 20). The Women of Brewster Place Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "The Women of Brewster Place Study Guide." September 20, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2018.


Course Hero, "The Women of Brewster Place Study Guide," September 20, 2017, accessed December 13, 2018,

The Women of Brewster Place | Characters

Character Description
Mattie Michael Mattie Michael rises above the abuse, betrayal, and losses she has endured to become the strong, matriarchal heart of Brewster Place. Read More
Etta Mae Johnson Etta Mae Johnson refuses to live by the rules or to settle down with one man. She spends her life on the move, always searching for something just out of reach. Read More
Kiswana Browne Kiswana Browne is an idealistic college drop-out from a middle-class family, living among "her people" on Brewster Place. Her goal is to help others improve their lives. Read More
Lucielia Louise Turner Lucielia Louise—Ciel—Turner nearly dies from grief and rage after the death of her baby girl and is saved through Mattie's compassionate intervention. Read More
Cora Lee Cora Lee has a love for making and having babies that leads to an endless procession of nameless men and mires her in a chaotic life of welfare and wild children. Read More
Lorraine Lorraine is Theresa's lesbian partner. Together, they move to Brewster Place with the dream of living in peace, protected from the homophobic world. Read More
Theresa Theresa is Lorraine's lesbian partner and the stronger of the two women. She prefers to face the world without apology. Read More
Ben Ben is Brewster Place's first black resident and its gentle-natured, alcoholic building superintendent. He is the estranged husband of Elvira and father of an unnamed lame daughter. Ben is murdered by Lorraine. Read More
C.C. Baker C.C. Baker is the leader of a gang of hoodlums that haunt the alley along the wall of Brewster Place, where they trap and rape Lorraine.
Abshu Ben-Jamal Abshu Ben-Jamal is Kiswana Browne's boyfriend as well as the man behind the black production of A Midsummer's Night Dream performed in the park and attended by Cora Lee and her children.
Ben's daughter Ben's daughter, born lame, goes unnamed, but is the source of Ben's grief and the reason he drinks. She runs away from home after being used, with her parents' knowledge, as a sexual toy by Mr. Clyde, their white landlord.
Mrs. Browne Mrs. Browne is Kiswana Browne's mother, a tall, copper-skinned, confident woman; proud of her heritage and ready to meet the world on its own terms.
Mr. Clyde Mr. Clyde, a widower, is Ben and Elvira's landlord. He uses their daughter for sex in exchange for allowing them to live as sharecroppers on his land.
Elvira Elvira is Ben's wife, a thin, shrill woman who bitterly resents the poor life she leads and the lame daughter she bore. Elvira rejects her daughter's claim that Mr. Clyde is sexually abusing her.
Eugene Eugene is Ciel's common-law husband and father of Serena. He's a tall, skinny black man, arrogant and selfish, always looking for ways to escape his obligations.
Butch Fuller Butch Fuller is the charming, "cinnamon-red" ne'er-do-well who seduces Mattie Michael and father's her son, Basil.
Cecil Garvin Cecil Garvin is the criminal lawyer hired by Mattie Michael to defend her son Basil, who has been charged with murder.
Sergeant Manchester Sergeant Manchester is the kind, but weary policeman at the station where Basil Michael is being held for murder.
Basil Michael Basil Michael is Mattie's, spoiled son—cinnamon-red in skin tone, like his father. While awaiting trial for murder, he disappears—leaving Mattie homeless, as she has put up her house as collateral for his bail.
Fannie Michael Fannie Michael is Mattie's mother, a woman torn between love for her husband, Sam, and love for her wayward daughter.
Samuel Michael Samuel "Sam" Michael is Mattie's father, a quiet, generally calm man of steady habits, with values rooted in religion. He nearly beats Mattie to death when she won't reveal the father of her growing baby.
Mr. Mike Mr. Mike is the good-natured, tobacco-chewing deacon of Mattie Michael's church in Tennessee. He sees Mattie walking with Butch Fuller on a back road the day Butch seduces her.
Mrs. Prell Mrs. Prell, an old woman, occupies the same rat-infested boardinghouse as Mattie Michael. She takes care of Basil while Mattie works.
Serena Serena is the baby daughter of Ciel and Eugene. She is accidentally electrocuted while playing around an electrical outlet in the kitchen.
Sophie Brewster Place resident Sophie spreads the gossip that condemns Lorraine and Theresa for their lesbian relationship. She is unhappily married to a roving husband, Jess.
Eva Turner Miss Eva is an elderly light-skinned black woman living in her own house in North Carolina. She provides a permanent, loving home for Mattie Michael and her son.
Fred Watson Fred Watson is a dull but respectable young man who Mattie Michael's father has chosen as an acceptable suitor for her.
Reverend Moreland T. Woods Reverend Moreland T. Woods is a charismatic, prosperous preacher and a fraud. He willingly participates in Etta Mae Johnson's fantasy of landing a respectable husband in order to seduce her.
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Women of Brewster Place? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!