Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Andes. Great mountain range that runs through Peru and the other countries of South America’s west coast. Within the novel, the mountains’ peaks are personified by the indigenous peoples: Urpillau, Huarca, Huillac, Puma, Suni, Mamay, who are inextricably tied to nature. Geography is always a silent presence in the novel. At times, it is almost a dominant character, reflecting the importance of geography in Peru’s culture: the lofty Andean sierra with its crisp, thin air, its gaunt landscapes, sparse vegetation, and rocky soil. Ciro Alegría was born and reared on a hacienda in the same region in which he sets this novel.


Rumi. Small Peruvian Indian village in which the novel is primarily set. The village is physically defined by Lombriz Creek, the plateau of El Alto, Lake Yanañahui, and the cliffs over Yanañahui; its space defines its inhabitants’ sense of self and order. Rosendo Maqui, the mayor, represents the inhabitants of Rumi at their best at the same time as the Rumi community, people and space, represents the ideal of nature. Rumi is a pastel-colored place, with cobbled, windswept streets and huddled houses. Its people grow potatoes and tend their llamas. They chew coca to cope with hunger and the cold, and their chests are like those of pouter pigeons since their high-altitude air has little oxygen.

Umay Ranch

Umay Ranch. Private ranch adjoining Rumi that...

(The entire section is 519 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Suggested Readings

Aldrich, Earl M., Jr. The Modern Short Story in Peru. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966. Historical survey introducing major writers, styles, and themes of the Peruvian short story of Alegría’s day. Alegría’s short story production is analyzed within the context of the author’s literary contributions.

Early, Eileen. Joy in Exile: Ciro Alegría’s Narrative Art. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1980. Survey of Alegría’s short stories and novels. Traces Alegría’s major literary motifs within the context of Peruvian literature.

Flores, Angel. “Ciro Alegría.” Spanish American Authors: The Twentieth Century. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1992. Surveys Alegría’s production, including bibliographical sources. Written primarily in Spanish. An excellent starting point to Alegría’s works.

Foster, David William, and Virginia Ramos Foster. “Alegría, Ciro.” In Modern Latin American Literature, edited by David William Foster and Virginia Ramos Foster. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1975. Excerpts from critical studies. An excellent starting point to Alegría’s best-known works.

González-Pérez, Armando. Social Protest and Literary Merit in “Huasipungo” and “El mundo es ancho y ajeno.” Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Center for Latin America, 1988. Alegría’s two most well-known novels are analyzed in terms of his ideological views. Alegría is presented as an influential intellectual who participated in social movements that promoted the advancement of the indigenous population.