Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands Characters

Jorge Amado

The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

In the figure of Vadinho, Amado has fashioned a remarkable character, a rogue of epic proportions, a man roaring through life, gobbling it up before it gobbles him up, which is exactly what happens. As the autopsy report indicates, Vadinho could have expired at any moment; his heart, that great heart that propelled him through the streets of Bahia, was useless; his liver, that liver that had filtered tremendous amounts of rum and other manner of spirits, had ceased to function, and his kidneys had worn out.

To his friends of the gaming tables, the whorehouses, and other such pillars of Bahian nightlife, Vadinho is a generous man, a stand-up fellow. To Dona Flor’s friends and neighbors, the women of the neighborhood, Vadinho is a wastrel, a scoundrel, and, what to them is worse, a bad, unfaithful husband. The leader of this chorus of boos, Dona Rozilda, Dona Flor’s mother, when she hears of Vadinho’s death, boards the first ship to Bahia; even before the ship has safely docked, she is heard railing against Vadinho and praising the saints and anyone else concerned for ending his life. Dona Rozilda is a veritable virago, and Amado, in sure, deft strokes, paints her as one. In recounting the death of Dona Rozilda’s husband, Amado intimates that he died of a low grade of pneumonia, a slight cold, so desirous was he of departing for Heaven, or anywhere away from his wife, that he was not willing to wait for something serious. There are two other...

(The entire section is 542 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Dona Flor dos Guimarães

Dona Flor dos Guimarães (gee-mah-RAYNSH), a cook of genius. Flor’s Cooking School of Savor and Art attracts pupils from all over the state of Bahia, Brazil, and ensures her a measure of dignity and independence. Thirtyish, easygoing, plump, coppery-skinned, and graceful, Flor is very feminine and at the peak of her charms when her husband of seven years, Vadinho, dies, leaving her chilled and lonely in her grief, with no outlet for her sensuality and joie de vivre. She also is beset by marriage-making friends, a gigolo on the make, and her overbearing mother. Her instinct for calm, order, and propriety, however, is satisfied by her second husband. At the end of the novel, her life is complete when Vadinho is called back from death by the power of her desire to fulfill the other, hidden side of her double nature.

Waldomiro Guimarães

Waldomiro Guimarães, usually called Vadinho, Dona Flor’s first husband, a gambler and profligate. The bastard scion of an important family, Vadinho lives a life that is a series of picaresque adventures. Good for nothing except making love and friends, he initially courts Flor in a cynical attempt at defloration but ends with as much tenderness as nature has granted him to give. He is a bad husband—unfaithful (even with Flor’s pupils) and spendthrift (once even hitting her to get his hands on her savings)—but a wonderful lover: His peremptory bedroom demands allow her...

(The entire section is 622 words.)