Dmitri Andreyevitch Olyenin
Dmitri Andreyevitch Olyenin (dih-MIHT-rihy ahnd-RAY-ehv-ihch ohl-YEHN-ihn), a young man of noble birth attached to a Russian military company. Stationed in a Cossack village, Olyenin feels a strong sympathy for these wild and happy people so different from the effete, useless society that he knew at home. An idealistic young man, he lives in the home of a beautiful Cossack girl who is alternately affectionate and disdainful toward him. In his somewhat confused idealism, he at first believes that “happiness consists in living for others.” He decides to renounce self and find happiness in the love of beautiful, proud Maryanka. Later, realizing the vast cultural gulf between them, he rides sadly out of the village, his going barely noticed by the young girl.
Maryanka (mah-rih-AHN-kuh), the attractive daughter of a Cossack ensign, a man of property and position in the village. The girl has no objection to a temporary connection with Olyenin, but he is unable to hold her affections for long because she loves Lukashka, a vigorous warrior. At the last, she drives Olyenin off with loathing and scorn. She is not to be won by a lover who is not a Cossack.
Lukashka (loo-KAHSH-kuh), the young Cossack...
(The entire section is 546 words.)