Who is Hero in America Is Not the Heart?

Hero is the story's protagonist. She is a young woman who lives with her uncle and aunt in California after a traumatic involvement with a communist guerrilla group in the Philippines. Hero recovers from her trauma and saves her young cousin from abduction.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Elaine Castillo's novel America Is Not the Heart, Hero is the niece of Pol and Paz, Filipino immigrants who live in Milpitas, California. She is also the protagonist of the story. Hero's real name is Geronima, but she is given her nickname by Pol and Paz's daughter,...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In Elaine Castillo's novel America Is Not the Heart, Hero is the niece of Pol and Paz, Filipino immigrants who live in Milpitas, California. She is also the protagonist of the story. Hero's real name is Geronima, but she is given her nickname by Pol and Paz's daughter, Roni, and the nickname suits her.

Hero was raised in a wealthy Filipino family and trained as a doctor, but she runs away from home and joins the communist guerrilla organization the New People's Army, in which she serves as a medic. The goal of this group is to overthrow the Philippine government and bring about a working class rule. Hero is captured by enemies and tortured. When she is released, she cannot return to her parents because of their differing viewpoints, so she travels to America to live with her uncle and aunt.

In America, Hero encounters a completely different kind of life, and this helps her heal from the trauma of her past. She begins to rebuild her life, develops a romantic relationship, and cares for her young cousin. When Pol desires to return to the Philippines to resume his practice of medicine, he kidnaps his daughter and moves to take her with him back to his own country. Hero, however, once again lives up to her nickname. Recognizing that this is no "holiday" as Pol has said, she intervenes and prevents the abduction.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on