Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Antonio Márez y Luna
Antonio Márez y Luna (MAH-rehs ee LEW-nah), a child at the threshold of a larger world. Although he is only seven, Antonio’s brothers are already fighting in World War II. Before his first day of school, Antonio sees a traumatized veteran killed by an enraged mob. In school, Antonio must master a new language because classes are taught in English. At the end of the year, he is promoted an extra grade. The larger world proves more difficult to master, however. Antonio witnesses the deaths of several people he loves, endures the nauseating fears that beset local children in response to nearby atomic testing, and shares his father’s anguish when his brothers return from the war only to wander away again, their cultural roots severed. Finally, he watches as Ultima, his spiritual mentor, dies, defeated by an opponent who hates her healing powers.
Ultima (EWL-tee-mah), an agedcurandera (healer), trained by el Volaré, the flying man from las Pasturas. Ultima is a friend of Antonio’s mother, Maria Luna. In her old age, she is left behind in a village that has lost many members through the war and economic migration. The Márez y Luna family invites Ultima to stay with them. Ultima is loved by a faithful few whom she helped in the past, especially Maria and Narcisco. She is also the object of community mistrust. Even many of those she once healed, including Maria’s brothers, the Lunas, refuse to oppose those who seek to harm her. Through Ultima, Antonio finds a path...
(The entire section is 674 words.)
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