Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Clemente Chávez

Clemente Chávez (kleh-MEHN-teh CHAH-vehs), the patriarch of the Chávez family. A man tied to “the sacred earth,” he is forced to sell his three acres in Guadalupe and move to the city of Santa Fe. He takes a job at the railroad but soon loses it during a dispute over working conditions. Unable to support his family and uncomfortable with the new ways of city life, Clemente believes his wife has taken his authority from him and turned his children against him. He drinks to numb his pain and confusion, until one night he is rescued from death by Crispín. Revived by the legend of Aztlán, Clemente gradually charts a new course. Though timid at first, he involves himself in the workers’ efforts to improve their working condition. Clemente is not the leader the workers seek, but after his son Benjie’s injury, he has an epiphany and becomes a leader.

Jasón Chávez

Jasón Chávez (hah-SOHN), Clemente’s son. Like his father, Jason is tied to the land and the mythology of their people. He too seems about to lose himself in the whirl of city life, but he meets Cristina Sánchez, the daughter of the man whose death he witnessed at the rail yard, and finds new peace. Although he is younger than his brother Benjie, Jason defends him against drug dealers and gang members. He even keeps quiet when he is falsely...

(The entire section is 502 words.)