The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

The characterization of individual voices in Leaf Storm is not its author’s primary goal. These characters represent larger forces in Colombian and Latin American society; their individual development is less important. Yet as each interior monologue progresses, certain details do emerge. Often, these details are revealed more through the musings of others than in the way a character may describe himself.

The colonel is a proud representative of an older order which has passed in Macondo, that of the founding families who built the town. He is a man to whom honor is paramount; thus he goes through with the doctor’s burial although doing so pits him against his own neighbors. Such unquestioning acceptance of a strict moral and ethical code of behavior is expressed in words recalled by Isabel, as her father tells her she must accompany him to the doctor’s house: “And then, before I had time to ask anything, he pounded the floor with his cane: We have to go through with this just the way it is, daughter. The doctor hanged himself this morning.’” Isabel is also a member of the upper class of Macondo, but, as a woman, she enjoys lower social status and has suffered many personal limitations. This fact emerges most clearly in the story of her engagement and marriage, at the age of seventeen, to a man named Martin, who later disappeared from Macondo. The marriage is completely decided and arranged by the colonel; on her wedding day, Isabel has never spent time alone with her new husband; she has scarcely even spoken to him in the company of others. The product of a certain rigidly defined class system, she sees her own destiny in fatalistic terms: “My punishment was written down before my birth,” she thinks, accepting without question her lot in life.

The child, through his ingenuous observations, provides an opportunity for García Márquez to show the world of Macondo through another, more wondrous perspective. The boy’s monologue begins the novel with the following: “I’ve seen a corpse for the first time. It’s Wednesday but I feel as if it was Sunday because I didn’t go to school.” His...

(The entire section is 876 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The Doctor

The Doctor, a resident of Macondo for a quarter century, a grass eater, an insomniac, and a suicide by hanging. The Doctor is variously perceived as lustful and vulgar, without pity, hardened, animal-like, and already dead before death. He is the focus of interior monologues emanating from the Colonel, Isabel, and the Child. He is possibly French, and his name is never known, although he lives as a guest in the Colonel’s home for eight years. He practices medicine in Macondo until the banana company arrives and his patients drift away. When the company and its “leaf storm” of humanity depart, a night of rebellion brings Macondo back to his door, but the Doctor refuses to treat wounded men, saying that he has “forgotten” his profession. This denial makes the community long to see his death and physical decay for the next ten years.

The Colonel

The Colonel, a retired military officer. Unconventional and independent, the Colonel goes his own way. He feels pity and sorrow for the Doctor’s isolation. As the novella ends, the Colonel is about to fulfill his sacred promise to bury the Doctor.


Isabel (EE-sah-behl), the daughter of the Colonel, an abandoned wife and mother of the Child. At thirty years of age, she is a woman wounded by departures: her mother’s death in childbirth, the loss of Meme, Martín’s disappearance, and Adelaida’s...

(The entire section is 603 words.)