Jehu, the Mexican American loan officer, captures the attention of the reader at the beginning of the novel. He is a shrewd character who learns how to survive the socioeconomic pressures placed upon him by white power brokers, who try to coerce him into selling out his people. Jehu, however, discloses the power brokers’ intentions and their efforts to control both the economy and the politics of the valley. Despite Jehu’s efforts to serve as a role model for his people, his sense of honesty and fair play cause him to leave his post at the bank; he is thus a failure in the eyes of most of the local Mexican American population.
Noddy is the chief power broker; he is not only the owner of Klail City First National Bank but also political boss of Belken County. From the beginning of the book, the reader gains a dislike for this underhanded character. Noddy controls most money transactions, especially in the real-estate industry in the Valley. “St. Noddy” also manipulates the social lives and careers of susceptible whites and Mexican Americans. The one person he cannot control is Jehu Malacara.
Ira Escobar is a Mexican American petty politician who also works for the Klail City First National Bank. Yet his lack of knowledge of politics leaves him vulnerable to use in others’ power plays. He is so naïve a character that he never realizes that his wife is having an affair with Jehu or that his people think of him as a sellout. Through...
(The entire section is 496 words.)