Green Grass, Running Water

Principal characters

Lionel- An uninspired, ill-motivated electronics salesman, Lionel rivals Charlie for the affection of professor Alberta Frank. Lionel's parents and sister Latisha offer counsel through his various troubles.

Charlie Looking Bear – A lover of the character Alberta Frank, he is Lionel's cousin and a slick lawyer; he represents the company that is building the dam opposed by Eli. Charlie was hired because the company thought an Aboriginal lawyer might ease resentment from the populace. He used to be a TV salesman and in many ways represents what Lionel could become.

Alberta Frank – A professor and the lover of both Lionel and Charlie. She wants to have a child, but does not want a husband or marriage.

Eli Stands Alone – Lionel's uncle. A former professor, he opposes building a dam that upsets the natural course of a waterway. This natural course is important to Blackfoot tradition. Eli lives in a cabin near the dam. It would be ruined (and his life threatened) if the dam were to continue to be expanded and form a lake. Eli has filed lawsuits, and the company that Charlie represents has been stymied for 10 years.

Latisha – Lionel's sister. She owns the Dead Dog Café and pretends to sell dog meat, because tourists incorrectly believe dog meat is the authentic ethnic food of the Blackfoot Native Americans. In the novel, she offers good counsel to Lionel.

Dog, aka GOD – While Coyote was sleeping at the beginning of his novel, one of his dreams takes form and runs amok, waking Coyote up. The dream thinks it is very smart, and calls itself GOD. Coyote agrees that his dream is smart, but that it is only a facsimile of Coyote and that this dream has everything backwards; thereby he names it Dog.

Coyote – A trickster god who falls asleep and gives form to his dream, "Dog." He is on speaking terms with the four escaped American Indians, as well as the unknown narrator of the novel. He does not directly speak to the "ordinary" denizens of Blossom, although he does appear as an odd-looking dog that Lionel sees dancing.

The Old Indians – These four escaped Aboriginal men break out from a mental institution in Florida and make their way to Blossom. Each is responsible for telling a segment of the novel to the unknown narrator of the novel. They each tell a creation story as well, in which they are originally identified as First Woman, Changing Woman, Thought Woman, and Old Woman.[1] They encounter both a Biblical character as well as a western literary figure, and they change their names to these literary figures: First Woman to Lone Ranger, Changing Woman to Ishmael, Thought Woman to Robinson Crusoe, and Old Woman to Hawkeye.[1]

Dr. Joe Hovaugh – the doctor in charge of the mental hospital from which the four Aboriginal men escape. King portrays him as a confused, harmless, uninterested old man who is concerned mostly with his dying garden. When pronounced phonetically, his name sounds similar to "Jehovah."

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