(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Nuns and soldiers snatch two Indian girls out of the jungle to civilize them. They are taken to the mission school. There, Bonifacia takes pity on them. Corporal Roberto Delgado goes to Bagua, taking Adrian Nieves for a pilot. The Leons tell Josefino that Lituma is out of jail and wants to celebrate. Bonifacia feels sorry for the two new girls because they want to leave. When they leave, the other girls will follow them. Bonifacia will be blamed, expelled, and left homeless. A trader with the Indians, Fushía needs a partner, so he makes friends with Aquilino, a water vendor. When the other three“champs”—the Leons and Josefino—arrive, they and Lituma begin drinking.

Bonifacia finds the two new girls in the pantry, speaks to them in Indian, and feeds them. Bonifacia loves the sisters and does not want to be considered a heathen, but the children do not seem evil to her. Don Anselmo buys some desert land on which to build a house. Against Nieves’s advice, Delgado orders the men to loot an Indian village and to camp there for the night. Josefino tells Lituma that Bonifacia has become a prostitute.

Don Anselmo builds the Green House, a bordello named after its color, on his land. The Aguarunas, led by Jum, attack Delgado and the porter. Nieves, eager to leave the military, swims to an island, where Fushía and Lalita promise him work and safety from the authorities. Don Julio Reátegui plans to take a nursemaid and a servant from among the orphans at the mission. One of the girls offered is Bonifacia. She cries, however, and Don Julio will not take her against her will. The soldiers cannot find the missing students. Nieves invites the sergeant to dine with his family and meet Bonifacia, who has been expelled from the mission.

A baby girl, left for dead when her guardians are murdered, is attacked by buzzards that devour her eyes and tongue. Juana Baura, a washerwoman, raises the girl, Antonia.

Corporal Roberto Delgado and the Captain find Jum and the Urukusas. A little girl clings to Jum’s legs. At Chunga’s, the new Green House, Lituma looks for Bonifacia. At Nieves’s house, Bonifacia is too frightened to come out until Fats announces that the students have been found. Lalita insists that Bonifacia greet the sergeant. Fushía’s disease makes him impotent. He is abusive to Lalita, and she flees to Nieves for comfort.

One day, when Juana leaves Antonia at the town square as usual, the girl disappears. Jum tells Reátegui that the corporal tried to steal from him, so he beat him and then gave him a canoe. Delgado contradicts the story. The girl with Jum is Bonifacia. Josefino reunites Wildflower and Lituma; the couple dance. While Lalita and Nieves are...

(The entire section is 1112 words.)