Journey Back to the Source

by Alejo Carpentier

Start Free Trial


Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Don Marcial, Marques de Capellanias, is the main character in the story. It traces his life in reverse order, from his deathbed until he's formed in his mother's womb. He's a well-off man who owns property and spends a great deal of time at parties. He drinks with his friends, enjoys time with his wife, and seems to dislike having to deal with paperwork. When time rewinds enough that he's no longer legally an adult, he's happy that his signature won't be valid anymore.

Father Anastasio hears Don Marcial's confessions when he's on his deathbed. Since everything is moving in reverse, the confessions move from more intense to less. Don Marcial thinks that "the Carmelite" doesn't have the right to interfere in his life.

The Marquesa is Don Marcial's spouse, and their relationship becomes more amorous as the story goes on because they get younger. She returns from a drive by the Almendares during the story. At the end, the workmen speak of the Marquesa de Carpellanias who drowned in the Almendares—which means in the foreward timeline, that's the day she dies.

Señora de Campoflorido is a woman that Don Marcial is intimate with when he's a young man. She gives him a scented handkerchief with Brussels lace.

Don Abundio is the Marcial family notary and executor.

Melchor is the Marcial family groom. He plays chess with Don Marcial.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access