Last Updated on October 10, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 462
A young and ambitious law student, Renny is initially horrified that his father did not leave him anything besides shares in a strange company called the Covenant List of South Carolina. However, he quickly discovers the high value of the shares and meets other members of the List, both of which cheer him greatly. He meets Jo, a passionate Christian whose religious zeal acts as a foil for his attraction to the occult. Renny is torn between his newfound faith, brought on by Jo, and the temptations of wealth and power offered by the List. After Jo is cursed by the leader of the List, LaRochette, Renny turns against them and makes the impulsive decision to break into the List’s headquarters and burn the book that was used to curse her. He is captured, and he chooses to go to prison rather than swear allegiance to the List and betray his Christian principles. This choice demonstrates his growing favor with God—favor that he further strengthens when he walks into the List’s meeting and informs them all that they will suffer retribution for their sins. Jo and Renny are ultimately married and live in the house that Daisy Stokes, another devout Christian, left for them in her will.
Jo is described as extremely physically attractive, and she exercises a strong influence over Renny. As a keen Christian who is not tempted by the wealth or power of the List, she is able to prevent him from becoming too deeply entangled in the organization. For this reason, Jo evokes suspicion from members of the List. Like Renny, Jo’s father was the victim of a curse delivered by LaRochette, and Jo intuitively senses that the organization is evil. On the basis of this intuition, she warns Renny not to visit LaRochette’s house, but Renny does not listen. Jo is made ill from one of LaRochette’s curses (which Renny was an unwilling participant in), but because she is a good Christian, she is able to resist the supernatural magic.
The leader of the List, LaRochette is keen to induct Renny into the organization. Having achieved this, he manipulates Renny into cursing Jo, whom LaRochette does not trust. When Renny returns to destroy the book used to curse Jo, LaRochette offers him a choice: he can either go to prison or become an apprentice in the occult. Renny chooses to go to prison.
A committed Christian, Daisy prays and fasts to secure Renny’s release from prison. Unfortunately, her fasting results in her death. Out of recognition for Jo and Renny’s love, she leaves her house to them.
Mama A is another Christian friend to Jo and Renny. She stands by Renny when he is in police custody.
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