Hannah Madoc, a natural, primitive young woman. Orphaned and penniless after her drunken father dies from a fall occasioned by Hannah’s pushing him off a porch in self-defense, Hannah goes to work in a store. Falling in love with Jule Bier, she rejects the attentions of others. Jule’s father wants him to marry someone else, however, and the grief-stricken Hannah goes away and becomes a prostitute. Jule goes to bring her home at last. The prematurely broken and bitter Hannah dies as the result of a fall.
Jule Bier, a young farmhand. In love with Hannah, he nevertheless follows his father’s orders and marries a wealthy girl. He acquires a wonderful understanding of life, and as an old man advises his wife’s nephew to accept the simple values, like Hannah’s, rather than the warped, false values of people whose religion masks a fear of life.
Selma Duncan, Jule’s wife, daughter of a wealthy farmer. She brings up her daughter to fear love and sex, with disastrous results. When the daughter’s body is found, the news is kept from the ailing Selma.
Rosalia Bier, the daughter of Jule and Selma. Seduced, she is tormented by feelings of guilt, though she hides her fear from her lover. After her lover leaves, she is convinced that a baby is her inevitable punishment. She runs away in a snowstorm; her...
(The entire section is 456 words.)