Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 615
Don Nicola (nee-KOH-lah), an ambitious first-generation immigrant farmer from Italy, a foreigner, or gringo. He works hard to improve his farm and his family’s life. He increases his acreage and builds a new farm on Don Cantalicio’s land when the latter fails to make good on his debt. Don Nicola dislikes the creoles, or native ranchers, considering them lazy good-for-nothings who do not know how to work or earn money. He refuses to let his daughter Victoria see Don Cantalicio’s son Próspero, fearing that Próspero is little more than a fortune hunter. When he discovers Próspero’s interest in his daughter, he fires him and throws him out. When Próspero returns two years later, established in a profession, Nicola approves the match.
Don Cantalicio (kahn-tah-LEE-see-oh), a criollo, or a native of Argentina. He used his farm as collateral to borrow money from Don Nicola, whom he despises for being one of the foreigners “taking over” Argentina. Once a gentleman farmer who grazed cattle and raised horses, he has not adapted to the times. His penchant for town life and his gambling losses make it impossible for him to repay his debt. He is not only unable to pay the debt and interest, but he also refuses to turn over the land in place of the money. He postpones the inevitable by bringing a suit against Don Nicola. He loses the suit, but the final agreement requires Don Nicola to pay him an additional sum of money, which Don Cantalicio uses to establish himself in another town. Two years later, he returns to his old farm, which has been radically altered and modernized under Nicola’s ownership. His resentment of Nicola—and of foreigners in general—deepens. He gallops away, passing by the new threshing machine. His horse panics and throws him off. Injured, he is carried to the farmhouse, where he resists care from anyone but Victoria. His right arm is amputated as a result of the accident. Though resistant in the beginning, he finally gives Victoria and Próspero his blessing to marry, accepting thegringa, though not the gringos.
Victoria, the hardworking elder daughter of Nicola. She falls in love with Próspero. Her mother catches her kissing him, and he is forced to leave. Two years later, they become betrothed. Their union will forge the new race of native and gringo.
Próspero (PROHS-peh-roh), Cantalicio’s son, who is hardworking and ambitious. Unlike his father, Próspero realizes that the old days are gone and is prepared to adapt to the new world. He works for Nicola until he is fired, then moves to a nearby town, where he works hard to earn enough money to marry Victoria. He returns to Santa Fe and to Nicola’s new farm as the man in charge of the threshing machine, and he asks for Victoria’s hand in marriage.
María, Nicola’s wife. She dislikes and distrusts the native Argentines even more than her husband does. She does not want Victoria to marry Próspero; she judges the son by the father, whom she considers an old scoundrel.
Horacio (oh-RAH-see-oh), the son of Nicola and María. Trained in engineering in Buenos Aires, he returns to Santa Fe and helps his father modernize the new farm. Like his sister Victoria, he is sympathetic to both foreign and native views, though dedicated to modernity.
Rosina (roh-SEE-nah), another daughter of Nicola and María, about twelve years old. As industrious as the rest of the family despite her young age, she rises early to work on the farm.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 206
Dorn, Georgette M. “Florencio Sánchez.” In Latin American Writers, edited by Carlos A. Solé and María Isabel Abreu. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989. Presents an overview of Sánchez’ literary production. An ideal introduction to Sánchez’ best known works.
Foster, David William. “Ideological Shift in the Rural Images in Florencio Sánchez’s Theater.” Hispanic Journal 11, no. 1 (Spring, 1990): 97-106. A detailed study of Argentina’s rural life at the turn of the century. Compares two plays, The Foreign Girl and Down the Gully (1905) and emphasizes Sanchez’ treatment of European immigration to Argentina.
Foster, David William, and Virgina Ramos Foster. “Sánchez, Florencio.” In Modern Latin American Literature. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1975. Offers a survey of Sánchez’ production by providing excerpts form critical studies by various critics.
Muñoz, Vladimiro. Florencio Sánchez: A Chronology. Translated by W. Scott Johnson. New York: Gordon Press, 1979. Traces Sánchez’ life and places his works within the context of his many trips and political confrontations.
Richardson, Ruth. Florencio Sánchez and the Argentine Theater. New York: Instituto de las Españas en los Estados Unidos, 1933. Traces Sánchez’ contributions as a founding father of contemporary Argentine theater, and the status of the national theater.
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