Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Marisol (MAH-ree-sohl), the protagonist and first-person narrator. Her story actually begins years before her birth, with the recalling of episodes involving her uncle Gusmán, her grandparents, and her father and mother. These events lead up to her birth and growth into a young woman. She admits at the end of the novel to having created parts of the story from her imagination. Her interpretation of events and imaginary additions clearly reflect the development of her own character.


Gusmán (gews-MAHN), Marisol’s uncle. The story begins with his childhood. Other members of the family have considered Gusmán reckless and wild from birth. From being an uncontrollable child, he grows into an unconventional adult with the life’s goal of finding the disreputable spiritist Rosa. His real and invented history and finally his heroic actions at the time of tragedy in Paterson are catalytic to Marisol’s understanding of her dual culture and the self she creates through her writing.


Ramona, Marisol’s mother. She first appears as the older sister of Gusmán. Her courtship and her marriage to Rafael in Salud are traced forward to Marisol’s birth. She remains the constant link to Marisol’s island culture. Ramona never assimilates into American life, first re-creating her homeland within the structure of El...

(The entire section is 424 words.)

Themes and Characters

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

On many levels, Guzman is the protagonist of the novel, a protagonist who undergoes dramatic change from youth to adulthood while still...

(The entire section is 917 words.)