Luther Nedeed is the villain of the novel. His love for power provides the catalyst for the demise of humanistic values and the triumph of materialism in the lives of the people of Linden Hills. Like the devil he symbolically represents, his delight is in the destruction of lives of the inhabitants of Linden Hills. The first Luther Nedeed lives on in the person of each of the descendants who carry his name; they also carry his personality and his physical appearance. Willa’s son, who inherits the recessive genes of his light-skinned grandmothers and does not look like his father, serves as the catalyst for the destruction of the Nedeed dynasty. The modern Luther’s inhumanity and selfishness are revealed through his treatment of his wife and son and through his delight in the destruction of the lives of the inhabitants of the lower regions of Linden Hills. Luther is unable to select a wife in the same way that his ancestors did because of changes in the status and expectations of women in contemporary society. Therefore, he waits until his college reunion to pick from the single women uncomfortable with their independent status and desperate enough to consider marriage to him. The purpose of Luther’s matrimonial search is simply to find a woman to bear him a son, who must be conceived in a ritual prescribed by his ancestors. Thereafter, he has no sexual contact with his wife.
Willa Prescott Nedeed is the wife of the last Luther Nedeed and the vehicle...
(The entire section is 539 words.)