Lacy Buchan (BUHK-an), the narrator of the novel. Now sixty years old and a bachelor, he was fifteen in April of 1860, when his mother died. He remembers the events of that year, the one before the beginning of the Civil War. The narrator is an educated, pensive man who wants to understand what happened to his family and why. The boy was torn between the tradition represented by his father and the more exciting lifestyle of George Posey. During the year in which the action of the novel takes place, Lacy falls in love with his brother-in-law’s sister, Jane, but he does not have the courage to tell his brother, Semmes, who proposes to her. Lacy is confused by events; as an adult, he is confused by the meaning of the events. On the whole, he is an observer who joins the Confederate Army to be a man of action like his brother-in-law but generally finds himself watching and trying to understand or explain rather than change what is happening.
Major Lewis Buchan
Major Lewis Buchan, Lacy’s father. Major Buchan is a traditional but impractical man. His plantation, Pleasant Hill, is not profitable. He tries to free some of his slaves, but the man he has chosen to manage his affairs, his son-in-law, sells them instead. The major seems past his prime, unable to run his life or help his children. When discussions about the North and the South arise, he assumes that his sons are Unionists, as he is. When his son Semmes becomes a Confederate, the major disowns him. To him, honor is everything. When Union soldiers give him a half hour to get...
(The entire section is 664 words.)