The North Water Characters

Ian McGuire
This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The North Water.
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Patrick Sumners

The protagonist Patrick Sumner is the British-educated surgeon around whom the story revolves. Sumner is a naive member of the British upper class who encounters the underbelly of society when he joins the crew of the Volunteer. Sumner is also a drug addict who needs laudanum on a daily basis to cope with his life.

Sumner’s refined tastes for classical literature and his own desire to write poetry are in conflict with his position aboard a ship loaded with unseemly characters who range from the merely eccentric to the flagrantly criminal. Although Sumner tries to insulate himself from the other crew, his compassionate and healing instincts are still bruised by the suffering of the men.

Henry Drax

Henry Drax, the novel’s antagonist, is a harpoonist on the Volunteer who seems to function outside the normal boundaries of human society. Like a true psychopath, Drax does...

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This section contains 631 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The North Water Study Guide
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