Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Llano (YAH-no). Great savanna plains region of central Venezuela that represents nature in its wild and unruly state. Although beautiful and powerful, and therefore much like Santos’s nemesis, Doña Bárbara, the plains resist the order and discipline of any civilizing force. Danger lurks in the muddy, alligator-filled quagmires that threaten to consume interlopers whole. Rómulo Gallegos provides a poetic description of the enormous prairie. This region, with its unbroken horizon, conveys a sense of solitude and loneliness.


Altamira (ahl-tah-MEER-ah). Ranch on which Santos grows up and to which he returns after completing his university studies. Santos maintains an ambivalent relationship with his family estate. When he returns to Altamira, he finds it overgrown with neglect and thinks about selling it. Soon, however, he learns of Doña Bárbara’s underhanded schemes to cheat him out of his property, and decides to stay and put up a fight. Resolving to end the dispute by civilized means, he attempts to defend his claim legally, through the courts. Meanwhile, he struggles to tame the wild savanna, as well as stem Doña Bárbara’s greed. Eventually, he puts up a fence to mark the border of his property. Santos’s ultimate triumph over Doña Bárbara represents a victory for civilization over barbarism. In Spanish, Altamira signifies highmindedness. In the novel, the law prevails over unbridled power.

El Miedo

El Miedo (ehl...

(The entire section is 628 words.)