Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Don Anselmo (ahn-SEHL-moh), an imaginative individual, a harpist and founder of the original “Green House” in Piura. Along with several others, Anselmo provides residents of this barrio with a much needed sense of pride and self-esteem. He temporarily fills the community’s need for a positive self-image. In the novel, the rise and fall of Anselmo and the Green House are paralleled. Even though he and the Green House ultimately are defeated, Anselmo attains heroic stature as a result of his courage, perseverance, and capacity for sacrifice.
The Sergeant, Lituma (lee-TEW-mah), a national policeman from Piura who is stationed near the jungle. The story of Lituma’s confrontation with Chapiro Seminario, and the latter’s death in a macho game of Russian roulette suggested by Lituma, provides a clear illustration of how group values, when put to the test, deprive the individual of the independence of judgment, response, and feeling that are necessary to achieve personal autonomy.
Bonifacia (boh-nee-FAH-see-ah), also called Wildflower, an Indian girl of mysterious origins who is taken from her home and reared in a convent. Her one outstanding physical characteristic is her green eyes. Expelled from the convent when she allows the other Indian girls to escape, she...
(The entire section is 458 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Green House Characters. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Characterization in Vargas Llosa's novel does not emphasize psychological development. He describes each character's existence on a surface level and rarely delves into the motives behind his actions. Thus motivation is ambiguous and unclarified. It is part of the author's strategy to involve the reader, for it is left to each reader to discern a character's motives from dialogue and from given situations and circumstances.
The characters whose stories unfold in the settings of Piura and Santa Maria de Nieva are Bonifacia, also known as Wildflower, Jum of Urakusa, Fushia, Anselmo, and a group known as Los Inconquistables. The most memorable is Bonifacia, an eight-to-nine-year-old Aguaruna Indian girl who is abducted by Spanish nuns to be converted at their jungle mission. There she is given the Christian name Bonifacia. Years later, as a young woman, she marries a soldier identified merely as the Sergeant, stationed at the military post. When he is discharged from military service, he takes her to live in Piura. In Piura the Sergeant, now a civilian, is identified as Lituma. Subsequently, Lituma is incarcerated for killing a landowner (el Seminario) during a game of Russian roulette. Bonifacia, left alone, is seduced by one of her husband's friends, Josefino, who forces her into prostitution. At the brothel, the Green House, her identity changes along with her situation. Now she is known as Wildflower. The dual identity of these two characters Bonifacia/...
(The entire section is 532 words.)