The central differences between Antonio's parents are outlined in the first chapter, where we are introduced to Antonio and his family. It is clear that his parents stand for two different ways of life that will do much to impact Antonio, in particular in the way that he feels pressurised by both of them to follow their particular background and heritage rather than the heritage of the other. Note what we are told about the father:
My father had been a vaquero all his life, a calling as ancient as the coming of the Spaniard to Nuevo Mejico. Even after the big rancheros and the tejanos came and fenced the beautiful llano, he and those like him continued to work there, I guess because only in that wide expanse of land and sky could they feel the freedom their spirits needed.
Thus the Marez influence with Antonio comes from his father, and is captured in the wide open plains that his father loves to wander in, without feeling attached or tied down anywhere. His mother, by contrast, comes from the Luna family:
My mother was not a woman of the llano, she was the daughter of a farmer.
It is her hope that Antonio will become a priest for the Luna family and will move to the land of her family, living and working there. The conflict between the mother and father finds an interesting arena in the person of Antonio himself, as he feels the different expectations that his parents have of him and how he is pulled between the two different backgrounds and heritages in his life.