Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Gudbjartur Jonsson (Bjartur)

Gudbjartur Jonsson (Bjartur), a stubborn, roughly poetic, often cruel, fiercely independent crofter. He loses two wives, one quickly, the other after years of his harshness. He rears Asta, knowing of her illegitimacy. He loses several children in their infancy, Helgi as a child, and Nonni to a home in America. Only Gvendur remains after the ejection of the pregnant Asta, but even Gvendur longs to join Nonni in America and, later, to join the political radicals opposed to the Icelandic government. At last, reunited with Asta after the loss of his big, unfinished home by foreclosure, Bjartur takes her and her children to live with him and Hallbera in the old woman’s sod home. Bjartur appears to be a symbol not only of the Icelandic peasant but perhaps of land-loving, independent farmers the world over.


Rosa, Bjartur’s first wife, a small, sturdy woman with a cast in one eye; she is pregnant with Asta when she marries Bjartur. A believer in tradition and folk superstition, she opposes Bjartur’s scorn of these things. She dies when Asta is born.


Finna, Bjartur’s second wife, a pauper sent by Madam Myri to care for Asta. She dies after several years of poor diet, rapid childbearing, and unfeeling scorn and neglect, climaxed by Bjartur’s slaughter of her beloved cow.

Asta Sollilja (Sola)

Asta Sollilja (Sola), Rosa’s romantic, imaginative daughter, doomed...

(The entire section is 618 words.)