Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Donat Ratchin

Donat Ratchin (doh-NAHT RAHT-chihn), a young Russian during the Bolshevik Revolution. Although he has planned to follow his father as a merchant, he returns from the war to become the head of a revolutionary commune in Ordynin Town.

Ivan Ratchin

Ivan Ratchin (ih-VAHN), Donat’s autocratic father; he breaks up Donat’s brief affair with a pretty maid but sends the housekeeper to his son’s bed.


Nastia (NAHS-tyuh), a pretty young maid, briefly Donat’s mistress.

Olly Kuntz

Olly Kuntz (OHL-lih kewnts), a young woman who prints blank orders for arrest and imprisonment for the Reds.

Comrade Laitis

Comrade Laitis (LI-tihs), an enthusiastic revolutionist.


Andrey (ahn-DRAY), a man persecuted by Comrade Laitis. He is betrothed to Irina.


Semyon (sehm-YOHN), a man impressed by Andrey’s cleverness in eluding the Reds.


Arkhip (ahr-HIHP), a rude peasant and an enthusiastic Red who suggests suicide to his ailing father. After he becomes a Red official, he marries Natalia Ordynin.


Arkhipov (ahr-HIH-pof), Arkhip’s father, who shoots himself to avoid a lingering death from cancer.

Natalia Ordynin

Natalia Ordynin (nah-TAH-lyuh ohr-DEW-nihn), a young woman doctor. She becomes fond of Arkhip, the Red leader, and marries him, looking forward to what she deems a cozy arrangement.

Boris Ordynin

Boris Ordynin, the oldest of the Ordynin brothers, who rapes a maid and suffers from syphilis inherited from his father. He leaves Ordynin when the family home is requisitioned by the Reds.


Gleb and


Egor (eh-GOHR), Natalia’s younger brothers.


Lidiya (LYEE-dyih-yuh), a morphine addict, and

Katarina Ordynin

Katarina Ordynin (kah-tah-REE-nuh), Natalia’s sisters.

Arina Ordynin

Arina Ordynin (ah-RIH-nuh), Natalia’s mother. She sells clothes and furniture from the home to provide food for her family.


Martha, the maid raped by Boris Ordynin.


Aganka (ah-GAHN-kuh), a peasant girl attracted to Andrey.


Irina (ih-RIH-nuh), a girl loved by Andrey and betrothed to him.


Harry, the English leader of a band of armed men who kill and loot on their way through Ordynin Town.