Beret Holm, a Norwegian pioneer woman who is determined that her children are Norwegian and are to be reared as Norwegians. She discourages their use of the English language and refuses to give up her old-country customs. She wants her son, Peder Victorious, to become a minister and is single-minded in this purpose. She is strongly opposed to anything that tends to Americanize her family. Finally, she becomes reconciled to her son’s marriage to an Irish girl in the community.
Peder Victorious, Beret’s youngest child. His mother is determined that he become a minister. He has a fine, strong voice and is often called upon to recite at programs, but his mother objects when he does this reciting in English. He is perplexed by the problem of a God of love who is also responsible for all of the catastrophes that befall him and the community. He resents being kept at home, away from parties and dances, and begins slipping out to go to them at night. He is cast in a school play opposite an Irish girl, and they fall in love. He is surprised and delighted when his mother consents to their marriage.
The Reverend Johan Gabrielsen
The Reverend Johan Gabrielsen, the minister to the Norwegian settlement, who is convinced that Peder should go to the seminary and become the next spiritual leader of the group. He is more lenient than Peder’s mother and believes that English will take the place of the Norwegian language in the community. He antagonizes Beret by asking Peder to read in English and by saying grace in English in her home.
Susie Doheny, the girl who is cast in the play with Peder and who falls in love with him.
Anna Marie, Beret’s other children.
Charlie Doheny, Peder’s friend, a jolly Irish boy who is Susie’s brother.