Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


California, a young farm wife, the daughter of a Scottish sailor and a Spanish and Indian mother. She is graceful, lithe, strong, and darkly beautiful but soiled by her life with Johnny and his associates. Her passionate offering of herself to the stallion on a hilltop on an April night symbolizes her turning from her sordid relationships with men and her submission to the majestic strength and clean beauty of God. When, filled with hatred the next night, she flees from the drunken Johnny to the stallion’s corral, she is followed by Johnny and his dog Bruno. The frightened Christine brings her mother a gun to kill the raging stallion. California shoots Bruno and watches the stallion crush Johnny with his hoofs and rend the lifeless body with his teeth. Then, faithful to her own race after all, she shoots the stallion and in stark agony turns toward her daughter like a woman who has killed God.


Johnny, her husband, an outcast Hollander. He has a pale face and burned-out blue eyes, and his still-young body is shriveled from debauchery.


Christine, their small blonde daughter, blue-eyed like her father, wizened of forehead and sickly in body.

The roan stallion

The roan stallion, a symbol of the rejection of man and the embracing of natural life.

Jim Carrier

Jim Carrier, the owner of a bay mare bred to the roan stallion.