Nineteen-year-old Pepe Torres is the main character in "Flight." He is tall, thin, gangly, and lives on the family farm with his widowed mother and a younger brother and sister. While his mother believes that he is "fine and brave," there is no indication that he is anything but lazy. He is very skilled in throwing his father's switchblade, however, and wants to prove that he is a man.
In Monterey, Pepe gets drunk and knifes a man who quarrels with him. He tries to explain to his mother how much of a man he is now, but refuses to accept full responsibility for his actions. He even claims that, at one point, "[T]he knife—it went almost by itself." Pepe then flees to the mountains, taking only his father's coat, rifle, and a few provisions. In his flight, he loses the hat, the provisions, the rifle, and his horse—everything he needs to survive. Such carelessness shows how much Pepe still has to learn about being a responsible adult.
With no skills to aid him and with an infected hand becoming gangrenous, Pepe becomes exhausted, hungry, thirsty, and is reduced to crawling away from his pursuers like an animal. His parched mouth can no longer form words. In his degradation, he is able to stand up—like a man—to his pursuers, and face his death.
(The entire section is 228 words.)