A well-liked marine biologist in Cannery Row, Doc always generously helps his neighbors when they pay him a visit. He is passionate about marine biodiversity and tide pools, but his life of solidary work has made him a bit too comfortable keeping others at a safe distance. When he meets Suzy, a girl of the road without a home, something about that changes. Though he struggles to share his feelings, Doc eventually gains the courage to tell her how he feels.
Having fended for herself on the road for so long, Suzy arrives in Cannery Row desperate for food and a home. When she is almost forced out of town for stealing food, she falls in love with Doc, but has to take a job at a brothel without any other option. After struggling to overcome her own issues of self-worth, Suzy becomes independent and eventually finds happiness with the love of her life, Doc.
The madam and proprietress of Cannery Row’s Bear Flag Café, a brothel close to Doc’s lab. Like Doc, Fauna is respected around town and takes pride in her business. With a maternal air, Fauna genuinely cares for her girls, and even takes a chance on Suzy by offering her shelter and a job. When Fauna sees Suzy struggling, she teaches her how to hold her head up high.
A good friend of Doc's, Hazel was named by mistake after his mother confused him for one of her other eight children. He's a little slow, but noble and beloved by his friends and house mates at The Palace Flophouse, a dilapidated warehouse where they all live illegally.
Possibly the shrewdest resident of The Palace Flophouse, Mac is the first to realize that their unofficial home might be taken from them. Determined to maintain the less-than-legal housing arrangement, Mac strategizes to protect it and finds a way to help Doc while helping himself.
Joe: The new landlord of a store, Joe is a Mexican business owner on Cannery Row. He is generous, expects honesty and helps find jobs for his friends in need. He is unaware that the deed for his store includes the Palace Flophouse, a warehouse where Mac and seven other local men live illegally.
Ray: George’s brother-in-law Ray is businessman who stuns the boys of the Palace Flophouse with tales from his life of working a steady job 52 weeks a year.
Jim: A police officer who looks after Suzy.