In the figure of Vadinho, Amado has fashioned a remarkable character, a rogue of epic proportions, a man roaring through life, gobbling it up before it gobbles him up, which is exactly what happens. As the autopsy report indicates, Vadinho could have expired at any moment; his heart, that great heart that propelled him through the streets of Bahia, was useless; his liver, that liver that had filtered tremendous amounts of rum and other manner of spirits, had ceased to function, and his kidneys had worn out.
To his friends of the gaming tables, the whorehouses, and other such pillars of Bahian nightlife, Vadinho is a generous man, a stand-up fellow. To Dona Flor’s friends and neighbors, the women of the neighborhood, Vadinho is a wastrel, a scoundrel, and, what to them is worse, a bad, unfaithful husband. The leader of this chorus of boos, Dona Rozilda, Dona Flor’s mother, when she hears of Vadinho’s death, boards the first ship to Bahia; even before the ship has safely docked, she is heard railing against Vadinho and praising the saints and anyone else concerned for ending his life. Dona Rozilda is a veritable virago, and Amado, in sure, deft strokes, paints her as one. In recounting the death of Dona Rozilda’s husband, Amado intimates that he died of a low grade of pneumonia, a slight cold, so desirous was he of departing for Heaven, or anywhere away from his wife, that he was not willing to wait for something serious. There are two other...
(The entire section is 542 words.)