College of San Ildefonso
College of San Ildefonso (eel-DAY-fohn-soh). College in Mexico City at which Pedro Sarmiento (also called “Poll”) does not learn to behave but picks up the rude habits of his classmates, even though he eventually is awarded a bachelor’s degree. In his satire of the university system, José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi demonstrates that a college degree is neither difficult to obtain nor, ultimately, useful.
Januario’s hacienda. Country estate owned by the father of Pedro’s classmate Januario, whom he visits after he obtains his degree. Unable to ride a horse or fight a bull, he makes a fool of himself in front of Januario’s family and is sent back to the city.
Monastery of San Diego
Monastery of San Diego. Franciscan monastery that Pedro enters to avoid having to learn a trade. However, he soon finds that he cannot stand the monks’ life of religious devotion and sacrifice and is glad when his father’s death gives him an excuse to leave the monastery. He then returns to a life of gambling and debauchery.
Prisons. Penal institutions in which Pedro is imprisoned for petty crimes and misdemeanors several times. Lizardi provides an unflinching description of the colonial prisons’ hellish conditions. While incarcerated, the prisoners continue to gamble and steal. Lizardi exposes the corruption of the penal system through the character of Don Antonio, an innocent man...
(The entire section is 632 words.)