Aarvin Russell

Aarvin Russell

    The Devil All the Time

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… in Knockemstiff, Ohio, in 1965. Aarvin lost his parents in tragic circumstances, so he lives with his grandmother Emma, his great uncle Earskell and his “step-sister” Lenora. Knockemstiff is a town with very religious people; it consists mostly of farmland and woods. In the small town, all the residents know each other and word spreads quickly, especially about things of scandalous nature. 

Profession… student. Aarvin used to be a student, but like many of the men in his town, no one really takes education seriously. Now he helps his grandma and uncle around the house and takes care of Lenora full-time. 

Interests… the military, taking care of Lenora, religion, and smoking. Aarvin received his father’s Luger pistol from the war for his birthday, and he shows great interest in joining the Vietnam War effort. Aarvin also deeply loves and cares for Lenora, especially because she gets bullied and has no real friends. He wants to look out for her and his family as much as possible, even if it means he has no time left for himself. While Aarvin does attend Sunday mass with his grandma, he doesn’t seem to be as invested in religion as the rest of the town. Aarvin also smokes cigarettes from time to time, to help him focus and relax from any stressful situations. 

Challenge… protecting his family. While Aarvin may live in a relatively small urban area, he is constantly worrying about potential harm that may affect his loved ones. While men of his age are usually working full time, chasing girls or indulging in vices, Aarvin remains focused on being the man of the home, even if his own biological family is gone. As he puts it: “We’re kin. We have to look out for each other.” As his town welcomes a new preacher named Preston Teagarden, Aarvin begins to have doubts of not only the intentions of the new reverend, but of the integrity of some of the town folk. 

Personality… loving, aggressive, and thoughtful. Aarvin is a caring person, as he devotes his time to taking care of his loved ones. A deep thinker, he often reflects on the trauma of his past but remaining hopeful about the future. To make things better for him and his loved ones, he’s willing to take things into his own hands.


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