- The father. He works at his trade in a farming town about five miles away from his home, and is struggling to make a farm and a home between jobs. He is constantly unappreciated by his wife, and finds little pleasure in arriving home to his family.
- The mother. Though she is "a big, strong, and healthy-looking woman, with dark hair and strong, square features," she is considered to be "bad... in the head." She is convinced of her husband's uselessness, and is constantly complaining that she is misunderstood and her efforts are unappreciated, despite doing little work at all.
Nils, the elder son, called Sonny by his father:
- The oldest of three children in the household. "A pale, thinfaced, dark-eyed boy." He yearns to help with cooking and cleaning whenever he can, yet he lacks the knowledge and the means to do so. The father notices attempts at washing dishes and scrubbing floors that have been shortly abandoned, most likely the attempts of the oldest child.
- The second-oldest son
- The baby
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