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For you and me, life out here is nothing; but there may be others so constructed that they don't fit into this life at all; and yet they are finer and better souls than either one of us. She is a better soul than any I've ever met. It's only lately that I have begun to realize all she suffered since we came out here.

Per speaks these words to Hans Olsa to describe Beret near the end of the novel, in the chapter "The Glory of the Lord." Throughout the novel, Per notices his wife change as she sinks into depression, but he always believes that she will improve with time. His vision remains optimistic, and he never understands her point of view. At last, he comes to the realization in this chapter that she belongs to the category of individual who should never emigrate, who is unsuited to the pioneer life and who demands the comforts of the Old World. Per now thinks that he should have never forced Beret to immigrate. Per and his wife have remarkably contrasting personalities, and Per now realizes that the two of them are even perhaps unsuited for the other. Remembering the fact that Beret belonged to a better family than he did and that she came to America for him, Per tells Hans Olsa that Beret is a better individual than himself. Per's confession in this chapter marks the first time he abandons his attempts to be a man of action. Instead, at this moment, he is primarily insightful. As Per professes his love of her to Hans Olsa, Beret overhears him. His words in this speech provide Beret with the motivation to get better, and by the end of the chapter her spirit and sanity return to her.