Dorinda Oakley, the daughter of a poor white Virginia farmer. Tall, dark-haired, and radiant-eyed, she is not pretty, but when she smiles, her eyes and mouth reveal an inner warmth. A vein of iron in her enables her to survive Jason’s desertion of her, his marriage to Geneva Ellgood, her own attempt to kill him, the loss of her baby in an accident, the deaths of her parents and of Nathan, and the years of hard work necessary to maintain and improve her dairy farm.
Josiah Oakley, her brother, a personification of futility who seems to Dorinda to ooze failure from the pores of his skin.
Rufus Oakley, another brother who, accused of murdering a neighboring farmer, is saved by his mother’s lying statement that he was at home when the shooting occurred.
Jason Greylock, the last member of an old Virginia family. Red-haired and slightly freckled, he is charming to young Dorinda. An inner weakness leads him to desert the pregnant Dorinda and marry Geneva. the same weakness takes him on the road his father has followed, a road to death through drink.
Geneva Ellgood, later Jason’s wife. She ages rapidly from living with Jason; her mind begins to fail, and she eventually drowns herself.
Nathan Pedlar, a country...
(The entire section is 495 words.)