Abdulrahman Zeitoun, known to most by his surname Zeitoun, is the protagonist of the story. Zeitoun is originally from Syria but moved to the United States after living a fulfilling life on the sea. He met his wife, Kathy through a mutual friend and eventually became a father of four. In addition to his family responsibilities, he is the owner of a very successful contracting business. He owns and tends to properties through New Orleans. Throughout much of the story he maintains a very strong, hardworking, and humble personality. This holds true up until his entering the prison. He was wrongly convicted and is forced to enter a cruel jail environment. Eventually they wear him down to the point of humiliation, they break him down completely. Over time, with the help of his friends, family, and his lifestyle, he is able to slowly recover.