Characters (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Abram Nedrow (Ned) Westlock
Abram Nedrow (Ned) Westlock, a Middle Border boy (and man), the narrator of the story. He is a farm helper for his father and later an apprentice in journalism. He becomes a successful editor of the paper his father leaves him. For years in love with Agnes, he marries her after his mother’s death. A close observer of people, he is also a moralist on such matters as temperance and personal industry. As a critic of small-town temperament and mores, he anticipates Sinclair Lewis’ Carol Kennicott.
The Reverend John Westlock
The Reverend John Westlock, his father, a Methodist minister, a strong, capable, independent, and thrifty man. He also is a domestic tyrant, a hard worker, and strongly opinionated. Suffering from a gnawing discontent, he leaves the ministry, becomes the editor of a newspaper, and later deserts his family, informing Ned of a seven-year liaison with Mrs. Tremaine, who accompanies him in his flight.
Mrs. Westlock, the minister’s weak, timid, and submissive wife. She dies just before her repentant husband returns.
Jo Erring, her younger brother, in early youth a member of the Westlock household and throughout his life a close friend of Ned. Stout, energetic, and ambitious but rather crude and uneducated, he works hard to prove himself worthy of Mateel. Having learned milling under...
(The entire section is 587 words.)
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