The narrator characterizes Susan Ward's attitude towards her life in Milton with tenderness and love. With detailed description and historic documentary embedded into the novel, readers learn about Susan's views about home and her own home in Milton, as well as the experiences of the pioneers. By abstractly writing about time and its staleness in Milton, the narrator characterizes Susan holding Milton as a fantasy-like, nostalgic place, where she longs to remain forever. From Susan's letters, the narrator is able to deduct the fact that Susan loves her life in Milton, every detail about it: the security and peace it offers, its gentleness, the gentle people, its sense of unchangingness. Milton is "a home place so intimately known, so profoundly felt, deeply loved", to Susan. With her absence from Milton, Susan feels both "free" and "unutterly deprived".