The Farming of Bones Characters

The Farming of Bones Character List


The protagonist of the novel, everything is seen from Amabelle's perspective. As a Haitian living and working in the Dominican Republic, Amabelle gives a first-person view at the trials and tribulations suffered by Dominican Haitians during the Parsley Massacre. Amabelle works for Papi, caring mostly for his daughter, Senora Valencia, on his estate. Amabelle came to live and work with them after her parents drowned in a river when she was eight, a traumatic experience referenced continually by the text.


Amabelle’s lover and a cane-field worker. Sebastien came to the Dominican Republic following the great Hurricane of 1930 that killed his father and most his family. He has many scars from his labor in the cane fields, work referred to as the farming of bones, the inspiration for the novel’s title. His death at the hands of Dominican forces is perhaps the central conflict of the novel for Amabelle.

Senora Valencia

Amabelle’s friend (of sorts) and matriarch of the estate. She commands the house while maintaining friendly relations with her entire staff. A Dominican herself, she often looks to the Haitian Amabelle for advice and assistance in her day-to-day operations.

Señor Pico

The husband of Senora Valencia, Pico’s position as a high-ranking military official is the cause of much consternation for Amabelle and Valencia alike. Pico’s undying devotion to Trujillo permeates every essence of his life and drives him to great depths.


Although never directly seen as a character, Trujillo’s influence is felt with every event that occurs. His steadfast hate of Haitians and his commissioning of the Parsley Massacre serve as the main conflict of the novel.

Don Ignacio (Papi)

A Spanish patriot, Don Ignacio, or Papi, emigrated to the Dominican Republic and made an estate where his daughter, Valencia lives with her husband. He serves as one of the most reasonable characters in the novel, not only in demeanor but also in action.


A Haitian living and working in the Dominican Republic with Sebastien, he and Amabelle are familiar with each other. When Dominican forces cause them to flee, Yves and Amabelle attempt to cross the border into Haiti together. Yves’ selflessness and determination are evident, and Amabelle respects both traits highly.


A well-respected elder from a neighboring village to Alegria, where Ignacio’s estate is located. He offers advice to Amabelle, having wise counsel for all who approach him.


Sebastien’s younger sister, Mimi is the epitome of a daring, young individual. Other characters often bemoan her lack of wisdom, but they all admire her spirit.


A co-worker of Sebastien and Yves, Joel is killed when Senor Pico strikes him into a ravine in his automobile. Pico was rushing to get home to his newborn twins, and does not even stop.

Rafael and Rosalinda

Valencia and Pico’s twins, at birth Rafael looks healthy while Rosalinda is petite and the doctor fears Rosalinda will not survive. In a twist of irony, it is Pico’s male heir, Rafael that dies, while Rosalinda survives.

Juana and Luis

A husband and wife combo that have worked on Papi’s estate for many, many years.

Odette and Wilner

Another pair of traveling companions attempting to leave the Dominican Republic that Yves and Amabelle join forces with. They help Amabelle greatly, but a point of conflict is when Amabelle essentially drowns Odette in a river to keep Dominican soldiers from discovering their position.


Another person in Amabelle’s traveling group, he escaped certain death when he survived a fall down a cliff after being forced off by Dominican troops. Violent and revenge-oriented, he meets his end after he attacks Dominicans who threated the group.

Man Rapadou

Yves’ mother, Amabelle and Yves stay in her home after successfully making their way into Haiti. A large and powerful woman, Rapadou tries to motivate Amabelle out of her daily blues, often to little avail.

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