Lazarillo de Tormes
Lazarillo de Tormes (lah-sah-REE-yoh deh TOHR-mehs), so named because he was born in a mill over the River Tormes. Bereaved at an early age by the death of his father, Lazarillo is given by his impoverished mother to his first master, a blind beggar whose cruelty is precisely the kind of education the unfortunate lad needs to remove his naïvete and prepare him to exist in a cruel world that promises only hardships for him. Treated cruelly, Lazarillo learns all the tricks of providing himself with food and drink. Becoming sharp and witty, although keeping his good nature, he develops the ability to please people and impress them. He is a kindhearted, generous lad, though his environment might well train him in the opposite direction. He is what may be best described as one of nature’s gentlemen. Given an opportunity by a kindly chaplain, Lazarillo settles down to an honest career as a water carrier. A diligent worker, he saves enough money to become respectable. Another friend, the archpriest of St. Savior’s Church in Toledo, provides Lazarillo with an opportunity to marry an honest and hardworking woman who gives her husband no trouble, though gossip, until silenced by Lazarillo, tries to make out that the young woman is the archpriest’s mistress. By his wit, competence, and industry, Lazarillo thrives and becomes a government inspector of wines at Toledo, a post that provides him with comfort and self-respect, if not affluence or great honor.
Antonia Pérez Goncales
Antonia Pérez Goncales (ahn-TOH-nyah PEH-rehs gohn-SAH-lehs), Lazarillo’s mother. A good but poor woman, she faces adversity following the death of her husband. To help her keep alive and provide for her small son, she takes...
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