The numerous fragments that make up The Fair are, for the most part, the voices of the populace of Zapotlán. The multitude of perspectives throughout the book belong to an array of characters representing all social strata, several centuries, and diverse interests and attitudes. Historical documents, journalistic reports, biblical excerpts, diary entries, ancient myths, and gossip are presented as monologue, dialogue, or quotations. Often, one incident or situation will elicit a variety of responses that revise, fill in, explain, and/or illuminate one another in order to arrive at some truth. For example, a chorus of the poor interrupts Don Manuel to complete his ingenuous account. Several viewpoints expressed about prostitution in Zapotlán reveal not the immorality of the prostitutes but the hypocrisy of the townspeople.
Even the main characters in the novel are not multidimensional but tend to exhibit a certain trait with which they are identified. They are not individuals, but types that illustrate abstract concepts such as innocence or hope, and do so in a consistent fashion. (Indeed, alteration of activity or status usually suggests defeat, as when the poet becomes a novelist or when Don Fidencio loses his dignity.) The portrayals of these attributes through the characters are extremely adept in The Fair; Odilón, for example, is hate personified. Some minor characters, although they appear only briefly, make an indelible impression by the tragedy of their stories: Paulina and the railroad man are two such characters.
In that the purpose of The Fair is the re-creation of life in Zapotlán, with language as the means to simulate that set of experiences, Arreola achieves his goal through breadth in characterization and the multitude of voices that speak on behalf of the “thirty thousand of us” that are Zapotlan.