Character Analysis Beret


Per Hansa's wife is the complete antithesis of her husband. She feels that she has sinned through her love of Per Hansa, and in the long brooding hours on the Dakota plains her mind gives way. She cannot share in Per Hansa's delight in the newborn son, Peder Victorious — symbol of Per Hansa's faith in his new environment. Beret sees nothing but devils and trolls around her, and every minute on the frontier is an ordeal. True, the lot of a frontier life was a hard one, but Beret makes it harder by her brooding introspective nature, her sense of sin, and her hunger for the Norway that she had left to follow her husband to a new land. Rölvaag's portrayal of this tortured woman is a masterful study into the deep recesses of the soul. The reader at first glance will not find Beret a sympathetic character, but a further study will reveal that she is truly a tragic character and more to be sympathized with than castigated. In the end, she destroys unknowingly the one thing she loves dearly — her husband. We are not told what happens after Per Hansa's death, but one can only imagine that Beret will again descend into her dark world of despair.

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