The Family of Pascual Duarte

by Camilo José Cela

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

The principal characters of The Family of Pascual Duarte are:

--Pascual. He is a man from the Spanish countryside, the province of Badajoz not far from the Portuguese border. The story unfolds as a confession Pascual has written while awaiting execution for his crimes. He tells us at the start that he "is not a bad person," and seems to attribute his criminal behavior to destiny.

--Esteban Duarte Diniz, Pascual's father. He is a cruel, ignorant man, abusive to both his wife and to Pascual.

--Pascual's mother. She is cold and abusive as well, and has few, if any, positive qualities.

--Señor Rafael, Pascual's mother's lover.

--Señora Engracia, the village midwife.

--Mario, Pascual's brother who dies as a child.

--Rosario, Pascual's sister, who becomes a sex worker.

--Paco Lopez, also known as El Estirao, or "Stretch" (in Anthony Kerrigan's translation.) He is Rosario's boyfriend and procurer.

--Lola, Pascual's wife. She miscarries Pascual's first child, and the second dies at the age of eleven months. Later, she is going to have a child by Paco Lopez, and when at the moment she confesses this to Pascual, she drops dead in his arms. Pascual then kills The Stretch in a knife fight.

--Don Conrado, governor of the prison, who is sympathetic to Pascual during his first incarceration.

--Don Joaquin Barrera, the man to whom Pascual has directed his confession or memoir.

--The Transcriber, who happened to find Pascual's memoir in a pharmacy in Almendralejo, the town which Pascual has described as located about two leagues from his home village.

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