Vladimir Petrovitch Sanine
Vladimir Petrovitch Sanine (vlah-DIH-mihr peh-TROH-vihch SAH-nihn), a young man who believes only in himself. Following his inclinations wherever they take him and claiming the same freedom for others, he influences several people to take actions with tragic consequences, for which he refuses to accept any moral responsibility. Finally, at Yourii Svarogitsch’s funeral, he horrifies the townspeople with his insensitivity and hardness of heart. Soon afterward, he leaves the town on a train, from which he jumps to his death.
Lidia (Lida) Petrovna
Lidia (Lida) Petrovna (peh-TROHV-nah), Sanine’s sister. Although fearful of her brother’s ideas, she is nevertheless attracted to them and, under their influence, gives herself to Captain Sarudine. Expecting her lover’s child, she learns that he is through with her. She attempts suicide, from which she is dissuaded by Sanine, who urges her to live and to marry Dr. Novikoff.
Maria Ivanovna (ee-VAH-nohv-nah), Sanine’s mother.
Captain Sarudine (sah-REW-din), an insensitive, lascivious officer who seduces Lida Petrovna with no opposition from her free-thinking brother Sanine. When he is ordered from the house by Sanine, he challenges the young man to a duel, but his challenge is refused. Later, when he is knocked down on the street by Sanine, the additional blow to his pride and honor is so great that he hangs himself.
Dr. Novikoff (NOH-vih-kov), Lida Petrovna’s sincere but awkward suitor.
Sina Karsavina (SIH-nah kahr-SAH-vih-nah), a young schoolteacher who is in love with Yourii Svarogitsch but is strangely attracted to Sanine, to whom she briefly gives herself. She immediately regrets her surrender.
Yourii Nicolaijevitsch Svarogitsch
Yourii Nicolaijevitsch Svarogitsch (YEW-ree nih-koh-LAH-yeh-vihch svah-ROH-gihch), a young student in love with Sina Karsavina. Although his need for her is great, the problems with which marriage confront him are so much greater that he takes his own life.
Soloveitchik (soh-loh-VAY-chihk), a Jewish friend of Sanine. He takes his own life.