My Life with the Wave Characters

Octavio Paz


(Short Stories for Students)

The Captain
The police call the Captain and tell him the narrator is a poisoner. The Captain calls in three agents to arrest the narrator.

The Children
On the train, where the narrator has secretly stored the wave in the water fountain tank, some children try to drink from the fountain, but the narrator blocks their way and offers to buy them lemonade instead. He is later accused of trying to poison the children by contaminating the water.

The Conductor
After he is told that the narrator has contaminated the water in the fountain, the Conductor of the train calls upon the Inspector.

The Fish
When the wave complains of loneliness, the narrator installs a colony of fish in the house. The fish soon monopolize the wave’s attentions, and the narrator regards them from the perspective of a jealous lover: ‘‘It was not without jealousy that I watched them swimming in my friend, caressing her breasts, sleeping between her legs, adorning her hair with little flashes of color.’’ The narrator begins to see the fish as a threat, and describes them as menacing and potentially violent: ‘‘Among those fish there were a few particularly repulsive and ferocious ones, little tigers from the aquarium with large fixed eyes and jagged bloodthirsty mouths.’’ The narrator comments that the wave ‘‘delighted in playing with them, shamelessly showing them a preference whose significance I prefer to ignore.’’ Finally, he is overcome with jealousy of the fish, and in a violent rage, dives into the water to attack them. But the fish are ‘‘agile and ghostly’’ and slip through his hands.

The Husband
After the lady on the train has tasted the water from the fountain and discovered that it is salty, her husband calls on the conductor.

The Inspector
He is called upon by the Conductor to investigate the narrator.

The Jailer
The Jailer, like all of the other authorities, does not believe the narrator’s story about putting the wave in the water cooler, and accuses him of trying to poison the children.

The Lady on the Train
After the narrator secretly hides the wave inside the tank of the water fountain on the train, a lady approaches with her husband and, despite the narrator’s protests, pours herself a glass of water. When she tastes the water, and discovers that it is salty, her husband calls the conductor.

The Magistrate
While in jail, the narrator is brought before the Magistrate, who assigns...

(The entire section is 1064 words.)