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Explore this guide to the Demon Copperhead characters for an in-depth guide to the nearly two dozen important characters in the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Oprah’s Book Club selection by Barbara Kingsolver that gave a very memorable identity to the plight of many Americans in Appalachia.

Plus get a free printable PDF to download and refer to when you are reading!

person holding demon copperhead by barbara kingsolver in front of bookshelves.

Demon Copperhead Characters Explained

Demon Copperhead was not just a five-star read for me — it was one of the top books of the 21st century. (Read more in my review of Demon Copperhead.)

This guide is meant to aid the reader. There are necessarily some spoilers because the characters cannot be described without conveying their role, which gives some plot details. Still, I tried not to give away too much, but rather just assist the reader in consuming this very character-driven book.

There are some spoilers below, but major plot points in Demon Copperhead are not revealed.

Damon Fields (“Demon Copperhead”): The protagonist of the novel, which begins at his birth as a poor boy in Lee County, Virginia (Appalachia)

“Mom” Fields: Demon’s single mother, a poor and drug-addicted teen

Mr. and Mrs. Peggott: an older couple who are neighbors, and often caretakers, to Demon in his childhood years

Matt Peggott “(Maggot”): Demon’s closest childhood friend and the Peggotts’ grandson, for whom they care while his mother is in jail

Murrell Stone (“Stoner”): Demon’s stepfather, who is abusive to Demon and his mother

Emmy: Maggot’s cousin, a good friend to both Demon and Maggott

June Peggott: Emmy’s aunt and guardian, a nurse and a stable parental figure who is against the opioid epidemic

Miss Barks: Demon’s social worker, who is overworked and underpaid

Mr. Crickson (“Creaky”): Demon’s first foster parent, a struggling tobacco farmer who uses foster children for labor

Tommy Waddell (“Waddles”): Demon’s friend in foster care, a genuinely good person

Sterling Ford (“Fast Forward”): Demon’s friend in foster care and the high school quarterback — a charismatic star with a dark side, including drug use

Mr. and Mrs. McCobb: Demon’s chronically insolvent second foster parents, who are both abusive and neglectful

Betsy Woodall: Demon’s paternal grandmother, who cares for girls and gets him into a better foster placement

Dick: Betsy’s brother, a smart man who is physically handicapped

Coach Winfield: Demon’s football coach and his final caretaker, who is generally well-intentioned, but struggles with alcohol addiction, grief, and an unhealthy obsession with football

Agnes (“Angus”): Coach Winfield’s daughter, who is bright, competent, loving, and anti-drugs

Ryan Pyles (“U-Haul”): a “helper” of the Wilfields who takes advantage of them

Hammerhead Kelly (“Hammer”): a distant Peggott cousin by marriage and Emmy’s first “real” boyfriend

Dori: Demon’s drug-addicted high school girlfriend

Printable PDF List of Names and Character Details

demon copperhead character guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Aunt June in Demon Copperhead?

In Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, Aunt June is Emmy’s aunt and guardian, a nurse, and a stable parental figure who is against the opioid epidemic.

Will Demon Copperhead be a movie?

No. To date, no movie deals based on Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver have been announced.

Is Angus a girl in Demon Copperhead?

In Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver, Angus is a girl. She is Coach Winfield’s daughter, and her real name is Agnes.

Who is Fast Forward in Demon Copperhead?

Sterling Ford (“Fast Forward”) is Demon’s friend in foster care and the high school quarterback. He is a charismatic star with a dark side, including drug use.

Who does Maggot represent in Demon Copperhead?

Maggot represents the struggle of those trapped in a cycle of poverty and addiction. He shows the harsh realities and limited choices faced by people like him.


These Demon Copperhead characters are part and parcel of a once-in-a-lifetime type of book recommendation.

If you read it with your book club, be sure to check out these discussion questions for Demon Copperhead,

Keep the conversation going! Share your thoughts or any remaining questions you have in the comments below.

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