Nightjohn Characters

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John “Nightjohn” Waller

John Waller is an escaped slave who returns to the South with the mission of teaching other slaves how to read. Like all slaves, John has taken on the last name of his owner, Waller, and his true birth name is unknown. When the reader first meets John, Waller is driving him back from town the way he would cattle. John is naked with a shackle around his neck. He is pulling Waller’s cart like a horse would do. Immediately, Sarny, the novel’s narrator, notes the scars that criss-cross John’s back and wonders why Waller would buy such an obviously difficult slave. While hankering for tobacco leaves on his first night at the plantation, John trades Sarny letters for a lip full of shredded tobacco. As their friendship deepens, John reveals that he was once an escaped slave who made it all the...

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This section contains 1,053 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Nightjohn Study Guide
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