The primary theme that is more prevalent in the novel is that of loyalty and allegiance. These two concepts are presented in a variety of ways throughout the novel
- allegiance to the faction to which the characters belong
- loyalty to the heads of the faction
- loyalty among lovers
So prevalent is this theme that the consequences of not having such loyalties result in immediate death, and in the violence that feeds the story on and on.
Another theme is the power of the land. The land of São Jorge dos Ilhéus is a land divided into parts where planters who have grown in the land are now its owners.
The want to control this lusciously rich cocoa- growing soil leads to the central problems of the story, where people are willing to lie, betray, work secretively, and even influence politics to make someone victorious, and then go side with that person.
This hunger for the land causes fighting, disloyalty and is a major cause of opportunism (another theme you can use). For this reason, those who enter this land, while they have the right to want an opportunity to hit it big, are really wasting their time and serving the purposes of those with more power.