Characters (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Teresa, a Mexican American woman married to Libra. She is bored with her marriage. She meets Alicia during a summer trip to Mexico while in search of her roots and her purpose in life. She wants to be a writer and keeps notebooks of her daily impressions. Having met Alicia, she becomes a virtual nomad, going through a series of painful separations from men she once trusted. Unlike Alicia, who has a light complexion despite her gypsy background, Teresa is dark and has attractive Indian features, indicative of her ancestry. The rivalries as well as the close friendship between Alicia and Teresa result from differences in skin color, appeal to men, and temperament. What unite the friends are their many shared experiences and their dedication to their own art.
Alicia, a New York artist whose ancestry goes back to Spain through a grandmother who is from Andalucía and is part gypsy. Alicia’s parents come to the United States and adopt the prejudices of that country toward people of color, forgetting that, through Alicia’s father, they are related to gypsies. In her rebellion toward her parents, Alicia goes through a sexual quest, always involving herself with men with dark complexions. She helps Teresa get over her first husband and initiates her into a similar erotic quest, one that ends with Teresa’s second and very happy marriage in the conformist reading of the novel. Alicia’s nomadism and sensuous lifestyle result in a life devoted to art and personal isolation from society.
Libra, Teresa’s first husband. A high school dropout, Libra makes numerous attempts to start a business but is always duped by his associates. He is a weak person who is easily intimidated by men with strong personalities. It is clear that Libra will never achieve anything in life. He is inconsiderate to women, even his wife. Teresa’s bohemian life and search for herself is a direct response to Libra’s opinions and way of life.
Rodney, Alicia’s black boyfriend. He represents defiance against her racist father. Alicia becomes...
(The entire section is 881 words.)
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