Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon Analysis

Jorge Amado

Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Ilhéus (ihl-YAY-us). Hot and humid port on the seacoast of tropical northeastern Brazil’s Bahia state, where most of the action takes place. After years of violent land disputes among the powerful cacao barons, Ilhéus is enjoying an economic boom. Amado chronicles the folkways and growing prosperity of the town, depicting with subtle irony and humor the elite cacao planters, who enjoy houses in Ilhéus, where they keep their mistresses and control local politics. His other characters include members of the intelligentsia, titled aristocracy, urban-class professionals, prostitutes, gunmen, and migrants escaping the drought of the backlands.


*Sandbar. Natural obstacle in Ilhéus’s harbor that is the principal problem preventing large ships from entering the harbor, thereby threatening the prosperity of Ilhéus. Mundinho Falcão, a bachelor and wealthy, politically ambitious exporter recently arrived from Rio de Janeiro, wants to improve the harbor. Through his family and political contacts, he eventually succeeds in bringing an engineer, skilled workmen, and equipment to dredge the harbor. This ensures his political success, especially when his rival, Ramiro Bastos, dies.

*Town square

*Town square. Center of life in Ilhéus. Located here is the church, where prayers are offered up for relief from drought or floods threatening to ruin the cacao crop. The women gather here to gossip. The Model Stationery Store, where the intelligentsia gather to discuss politics, is located here. Also here are the houses of the wealthy: Colonel...

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Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Chamberlain, Bobby J. “Escape from the Tower: Women’s Liberation in Amado’s Gabriela, cravo e canela.” In Prismal/Cabral: Revista de Literatura Hispanica/Caderno AfroBrasi-leiro Asiatico Lustitano 6 (Spring, 1981): 70-86. Discusses feminist issues in the novel. Sees Gabriela as a victim of male power and a source of liberation.

Ellison, Fred P. Brazil’s New Novel. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1954. Discusses the political impulse of Amado’s early novels. Useful for judging the change in Amado’s writing represented by Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon.

Hall, Linda B. “Jorge Amado: Women, Love, and Possession.” Southwest Review 68 (Winter, 1983): 67-77. Discusses male and female relationships in Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon and other Amado novels.

Keating, L. Clark. “The Guys and Dolls of Jorge Amado.” Hispania 66 (September, 1983): 340-344. Discusses Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon in the context of other Amado novels in which the author’s ultimate aim is to reform society. Amado’s most frequent strategy is the use of heavy irony.

Martin, John, and Donna L. Bodegraven. “Mythical Patterns in Jorge Amado’s Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon and Bruno Barreto’s Film Gabriela.” In Film and Literature: A Comparative Approach to Adaptation, edited by Wendell Aycock and Michael Schoenecke. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1988. Focuses on the characterization of Gabriela and Nacib and the novel’s sources in classical myth.