Vladimir Petrovich Voldemar
Vladimir Petrovich Voldemar (vlah-DIH-mihr peh-TROH-vihch VOL-deh-mahr), the romantic sixteen-year-old protagonist and the thoughtful forty-year-old narrator. The youthful Vladimir meets Zinaida during the summer of his sixteenth year while staying with his family at their summer home. He immediately becomes infatuated with her and tries to live this first love according to the dictates of the romantic novels he has read. He dreams of winning Zinaida’s love with acts of heroism and idealizes the object of his affection. He eventually discovers that his father has become Zinaida’s domineering lover. Disillusioned and confused by this revelation, particularly by the vision of his father reprimanding Zinaida with a riding crop as though she were an unruly mount, the young Vladimir cannot comprehend the brutal passion his father and Zinaida share. As the novella’s narrator, the middle-aged Vladimir is able in retrospect to sympathize with the lawless lovers, but it is obvious that he has never experienced such love.
Piotr Vassilich Voldemar
Piotr Vassilich Voldemar (pyohtr vah-SIH-lihch), Vladimir’s dashing father and Zinaida’s lover. Known for his skill at breaking horses, Piotr Vassilich is equally adept at managing people. A complete believer in the power of will,...
(The entire section is 582 words.)