What are the main events of Secret of the Andes?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Secret of the Andes is a wonderful young adult novel that actually overtook Charlotte's Web for the Newberry Medal in its time!  It is truly a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age novel, and the events prove that is so. 

The first event of note is in the exposition of the plot when Cusi tends his herd of prize llamas.  It is here that the reader sees how close Cusi works to the Andes mountains and how he lives in a town called Hidden Valley with his "guardian" and mentor Chuto. 

Son of my choice . . . I . . . falter because I love you. Give me time to open this door to you.

A second event of note is when the reader learns that Cusi has been raised without a family, only by his mentor.  Note, in the quote above, the words "son of my choice."  This shows that Cusi is not Chuto's true son.  This decision to be raised without a family (of course not made by Cusi, himself) truly affects Cusi, and he always feels something is lacking in his life.  The third event that is very important is considered the "incident," when Cusi learns from Chuto that Cusi has ties the royal Incas of the past!  This is what inspires Cusi to go on his quest into the modern city of Cuzco.  The rising action and suspense begins here.  The next event is Cusi's journey to Cuzco with high hopes followed by the event of Cusi searching Cuzco for a family, to no avail.  At this point, Cusi realizes that he is truly of Incan royal decent which is why he has been raised in the traditional Incan way with a mentor.  When Cusi realizes this, it is the climax of the book, and he sees that he must return home to continue his Incan training.  The resolution and denouement is when Cusi returns home and continues tending his llamas blessed with more knowledge than he had at the beginning and, of course, reconciled with the fact that he is true Incan royalty.  This is the "secret of the Andes":  that Cusi himself is the guardian of the Incan culture and the Incan treasure!

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