A New England newspaper publisher with a strong sense of justice. He watches nervously as Windrip takes power, then resolves to quietly resist the regime.
Actual Pacifist: He takes a dim view of war, although his feelings about armed resistance change over time. He also prefers to resist the Windrip regime through non-violent means.
Arrested for Heroism: He is arrested and briefly detained for writing a scathing column criticizing the Windrip regime. Later, he is tortured and imprisoned at the Trianon camp for disseminating banned media.
Be All My Sins Remembered: Doremus blames his own passivity (and that of others like him) for the ascendancy of totalitarianism in America. He expresses this sentiment in a scathing column criticizing Windrip.
"The tyranny of this dictatorship isn't primarily the fault of Big Business, nor of the demagogues who do their dirty work. It's the fault of Doremus Jessop! Of all the contientious, respectable, lazy-minded Doremus Jessops who have let the demagogues wriggle in, without fierce enough protest ... I can blame no Aras Dilley, no Shad Ledue, no Buzz Windrip, but only my own timid soul and drowsy mind. Forgive, O Lord!"
Pair the Smart Ones: He and Lorinda are both intelligent and socially conscious. Lorinda is much more his intellectual and spiritual equal than Emma.
Politically Incorrect Hero: He's an intelligent man with strong convictions about social justice, resisting a totalitarian regime. He's also having an adulterous affair, finds his young grandson annoying, and experiences compassion fatigue after listening to too many tragic stories from fellow exiles in Canada. He's a noble character, but he's no saint.
Scars Are Forever: His back is covered in crisscross scars from the whippings he received at Trianon.
Skewed Priorities: She's more concerned about practical matters than oppression, much to Doremus' chagrin. Even when M.M.'s charge into her home and drag off Doremus, she's more upset by the mess the M.M.'s made than her husband's incarceration.
The Vamp: A nonsexual example. She pretends to befriend Shad so as to glean information from him.
Doremus' older daughter and co-conspirator.
Ace Pilot: Galvanized by her husband's murder and her father's incarceration, she joins the Corpo Women's Flying Corps and trains as a bomber pilot. She is later assigned to escort District Commissioner Swan's plane to Washington. She crashes her plane into Swan's, killing Swan, his aides, and herself.
Mama Bear: Do not touch any of the Jessops. She lunged at one of the M.M.s who stormed into the house looking for Doremus. Later, when Shad visited Sissy at the house, she hid with a knife in hand in case Shad tried to harm Sissy.
Windrip and Advisors
Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip
An affable but shallow politician who mounts a populist presidential campaign. He and his administration set up a brutal totalitarian regime after he takes office.
Deadly Decadent Court: His administration is characterized by ruthless internal politics and jostling for power. Doubly so near the end of the book, when Saranson sends him to exile in Europe, and Haik later assassinates Saranson.
Even Evil Has Standards: He, Macgoblin, and Haik walk into Windrip's bedroom at night. Saranson raises a knife to stab Windrip, but Windrip begs for his life and reminds Saranson of kindnesses he did for him. Saranson cannot bring himself to kill Windrip, and exiles him instead.
Karmic Death: After seizing power in a coup, Haik assassinates him and seizes power himself.
When last seen, he was living high up in the mountains of Haiti, wearing only a singlet, dirty white-drill trousers, grass sandals, and a long tan beard; very healthy and happy, occupying a one-room hut with a lovely native girl, practicing modern medicine and studying ancient voodoo.
Dirty Business: The novel implies that he feels guilt over some of the unjust acts of the Corpos. After Mary's husband's death, he cannot make eye contact with Mary. Similarly, when testifying against Doremus, he looks down, his usual cockiness gone.
Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: She and Doremus have been having an ongoing affair. Their relationship is a loving, passionate one between intellectual equals, and the novel encourages readers to approve of the affair.
Buzz Windrip's opponent in the presidential election. After he loses the election, the Windrip regime places him under house arrest. With the help of Canadian forces, he flees to Canada and heads a resistance movement.