The only child of Jesse Bentley. Jesse resents Louise for being female, as he wanted a son instead of a daughter to help him fulfill his prophetic mission of serving God. As a result, Louise is neglected growing up and craves love and acceptance. She goes to live with Albert Hardy and his children John, Mary, and Harriet as a teenager so that she can attend Winesburg High School. She is ostracized by Mary and Harriet and is just as unhappy in Winesburg as she was on the Bentley farm. Louise decides to form a connection with John Hardy, hoping that a relationship with him will give her the affection and understanding she has always wanted. Louise and John Hardy begin a passionate love affair as teenagers and marry out of fear that Louise may be pregnant. When it turns out that the pregnancy was a false alarm, Louise becomes resentful of John and her behavior becomes erratic and violent. After she has their son David, she neglects him because she is unsure whether she wants to be a mother. Louise believes that David’s maleness alone will grant him everything he wants in life. When David is twelve years old, she allows him to go live with his grandfather Jesse on the Bentley farm because she believes her son is better off without her.