Characters

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Last Updated on July 21, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 303

During an expedition to climb Parascotopetl, a guide called Nuñez falls from the shelf of rock on which the mountaineers are sheltering before their final push to the summit. He tumbles from the slope at such a steep angle that the climbing party cannot see where he comes to rest, only the hazy outline of trees “rising out of a narrow, shut-in valley.” Frightened, they abandon their attempt on Parascotopetl, and the story of Nuñez’s demise becomes something of a legend.

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Nuñez, however, does not die in the fall. He unburies himself from a pocket of snow and stares up at the cliff, thousands of feet above. Having been cushioned within an avalanche during his “tremendous flight,” he is sore but unhurt. With no other option, he descends farther into the valley, down still more precipices and across meadows, until he sees a distant village. Taking in the peculiarity of the architecture, clothing, and behavior of the residents, Nuñez is quickly certain that he has stumbled into the legendary Country of the Blind.

The villagers call him Bogotá, mistaking his unfamiliar city of origin for his given name. Only a few of these characters are referred to by name: Pedro, Correa, Yacob, and Yacob’s daughter and Nuñez’s love interest, Medina-saroté. The rest of the population is unnamed, an indistinct “other” that acts seemingly with one mind. They consider Nuñez to be an idiot, wildly insensible and vastly inferior to themselves. They scold him for his ineptitude but nurse him when he cannot take care of himself. In a society that does not accommodate his differences, Nuñez is disabled. Thankfully, a blind doctor among the village’s elders thinks he can cure the servant’s madness; he must simply remove Nuñez’s eyes.

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