The House of God Characters

Samuel Shem
This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The House of God.
This section contains 983 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

Roy G. Basch

Roy is the main character and an intern at the House of God, a Jewish hospital. Roy is Jewish himself and a bit cynical at the outset of the book. He gets more cynical as time goes on and invents ways to make life more palatable for him inside the House of God. Even though Roy is authentic in his cynicism, he still cares about medicine and his patients. There are some patients he gets attached to. Roy does a great deal in order to cope with what he sees as a hopeless situation. He's very intelligent and resourceful, especially when it comes to dealing with the higher-ups in the organization. His true love is Berry, his girlfriend, but he's not afraid to have sex with whoever he has to, particularly the nursing staff, in order to get over some of the loneliness and death he is dealing with. Roy is irreverent. aHe has put the Fat Man on a pedestal, trying to emulate him.

The Fat Man

The Fat Man is a second year resident and works over Roy on the medicine ward. The Fat Man is a heavy man and legendary, according to Roy. Described as "Brooklyn-born, New York City-trained, expansive, impervious, brilliant, efficient" and having sleek black hair, sharp black eyes and a bulging chin. He has some of his own ideas on the taking care of medical patients and has invented several irreverent rules that he shares with the new interns. The Fat Man's goal is not to touch another patient and to let the interns do it. The interns love him but think he's crazy. He tells them he's invented a type of anal mirror that patients can use to look at their own anus, and he's always looking for a way to make more money. He really is fat and has a healthy appetite. He's the guy everyone looks up to as one who knows the inside scoop on what it takes to survive in the House of God. Seemingly unflappable, the Fat Man helps the interns cope throughout the trials of their internship year with as much irreverence as possible.

Wayne Potts

Potts is one of the interns at the House of God. A guy from the old South, Potts is really insecure, especially after he fails to give steroids to a guy who got a lot sicker after that. Potts is one of the worst interns in the House, partly due to his ongoing insecurity. Potts is depressed and teased by the higher ups, particularly around the issue of the Yellow Man.


Chuck is perhaps Roy's best friend and an intern at the House of God. A black man from Chicago, he states he only got this far because of affirmative -action. Chuck is carefree and fun to be around. He's sarcastic like Roy and plays basketball really well, according to Roy. He was apparently semi-pro at basketball at one time and plays basketball with Roy. Chuck is seemingly unflappable and doesn't have many problems in the House of God.


Harry is another intern at the House of God. He's fixated with death and is trying to get the most postmortem examinations of any intern. He's otherwise unflappable and has a minor role in the House of God.

Eat My Dust Eddie

Eddie is another intern at the House of God. He's from California and always refers to California when making comparisons to how things are done in the House of God. He's also into getting postmortem examinations and is in the running for the Black Crow Award at the hospital.

Dr. Runtsky-The Runt

The Runt is another intern at the House of God. He's nervous and takes Valium for his nerves. He's insecure and unable to make decisions at first but then he has sex with one of the nurses, and it brings him out of his shell. Eventually, he becomes more competent at the House of God.

Dr. Leggo

Leggo is the chief of medicine that no one likes. He believes in doing everything possible for every patient—something the others disagree with. He wears a long doctor's robe and meets with the residents at BM Deli Rounds every so often. Otherwise, Roy rarely sees him.

Dr. Fishburn—The Fish

Fishburn is the Chief Medicine Resident and is one of what Roy calls "the slurpers" because he licks the ass of the one above him in the hierarchy. He's into standard medical care and disagrees with the Fat Man, and with the way the others do medicine at the House of God.


Jo is the only female resident at the House of God. A cardiology buff and a stickler for details, she eventually realizes that the interns don't like her. She basically lives for medicine and want to go all-out for every patient.

Sargeant Gilheeny

Gilheeny is one of the two officers that hang out in the emergency ward with the residents and interns of the House of God.

Officer Quick

Quick is one of the two officers that spend their time hanging out in the emergency ward at the House of God.


Berry is the patient, long-suffering girlfriend of Roy, who sticks with him through thick and thin. She's always worried about Roy and, even when he is cheating on her, she stays by him.


Molly is the playful blond nurse from Ward 6 South who has a short affair with Roy while he's a resident of the ward.


Pinkus is a tall, emaciated-looking staff cardiologist who used to be of ill health but has done a turnaround. He eats healthy food, runs all the time and actually runs marathons. He tries to get Roy to follow him along. Pinkus is into hobbies and asks everyone if they have a hobby. He believes hobbies keep you from dying of cardiovascular disease.

This section contains 983 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
The House of God from BookRags. (c)2017 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
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