With the exception of Menelao, Sainz puts little emphasis on character development. Even the main character is similar to his friends—middle-class teenage boys with a language directed only at their peers and designed to exclude the adults. Their preoccupations are typical of those of the adolescent of any society.
Because the novel is meant to present the generation gap from the point of view of the young, they are allowed to represent themselves in the superficial way in which one expects them to act toward one another and toward those outside their age group and social class. The adults are little more than caricatures, in some cases (Menelao’s grandmother, Gisela’s aunts, Tricardio’s father) farcical and overdrawn, even granting Sainz’s intention to show the young characters’ total lack of understanding of their elders. The female characters, such as Nacar and Bikina, remain as mysterious to the reader as they are to the boys. Sainz’s departure from the conventions of realism is signaled by the characters’ names, which are highly eccentric, not typically Mexican or Hispanic. In the case of Menelao, the allusion to Menelaus, Helen of Troy’s husband, adds to the humor. (Tricardio’s father calls him “Mentholado” in one instance.) Other names (Vulbo, Tricardio) add to the farcical characterizations and contrast sharply with the geographical accuracy of the characters’ travels through the city.