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Son is the protagonist. The novel revolves around his actions and the reader is introduced to him in the prologue. He initiates the important events in the story by entering the Valerian household and forcing all its occupants to confront themselves and their fears and insecurities. Son has a free spirit that does not want to be bound by man-made laws, especially those constructed by white men, yet he is also afraid to become involved in a relationship with a woman he loves. Although she leaves him, he pursues her, knowing that she is what he truly desires. It remains a mystery whether he joins the mythic horsemen (on the isle) and becomes wild himself or whether he tracks down Jadine.
There is not one clear antagonist in the novel, though antagonistic situations do exist. The conflicts arise due to ideological differences between the characters and because of inner conflicts. Son is the protagonist who is fighting to win Jadine to his way of thinking about her lack of understanding and accepting her culture and argues with her over her independent-minded ways. Their fundamental differences culminate in them having a great dispute. Afterwards, Jadine leaves New York for the Isle des Chevaliers. Son decides to go look for her but is met by many obstacles that do not want these two to be together. Thus, people such as Gideon and Therese pose a barrier in the union of the two lovers.
The story reaches its climax when Son and Therese are in a boat headed toward Isle des Chevaliers. She asks him to join the blind horsemen (legendary folk) of the hills instead of returning to Jadine. According to her, Jadine has nothing to give him as she has lost her ancient properties. It is almost as if she is asking Son to make a choice between Jadine and the horsemen. The question is indeed climactic since the center of the novel has been Son and Jadine's passionate love affair.
The outcome of the story remains uncertain and clouded with mystery. The reader never definitely gets to know whether Son joins the wild men or whether he goes to the villa to get Jadine's address in France. Morrison does hint that Son might have gone more into himself when she writes that 'the trees stepped back a bit as if to make the way easier for a certain kind of man' and that when he ran he did not look left or right. The outcome thus leaves the reader with the feeling that Son is recreating himself into a person that can accept both 'civilization' and 'nature'.