*Mexico City hospital
*Mexico City hospital. Mexico’s capital and largest city, where Cruz is dying in a hospital bed. Fuentes confines his main character to this restrictive place to illustrate Cruz’s descent into near madness from the powerful, aggressive but tragic personality he once exhibited. Due to the limitation of the hospitalization, readers understand the conflict of a man brought face to face with his own mortality. Cruz’s decline contrasts with the character who earlier seemed to embody the spirit of Mexican nationalism. His suffering parallels the uncertain outcomes and failed idealism of the Mexican Revolution.
Cruz’s seclusion allows Fuentes to focus on his suffering protagonist’s interior life. Cruz’s memory functions as a very real place in the novel. In stark contrast to his decaying body, his memory is active, and through it readers see a number of poignant binaries: past and present, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal, love and lust, poverty and wealth, cynicism and opportunism, isolation and socialization.
Cocuya. Large estate in Mexico’s province of Veracruz with cultural ties to the nineteenth century dictator Antonio López de Santa Ana. Cruz’s mother (of African descent) was driven from this place after giving birth to her illegitimate son. This place reveals the humble origins of Artemio Cruz and may then help to explain his later drive for power...
(The entire section is 493 words.)