The Mixquiahuala Letters

by Ana Castillo

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Last Updated September 6, 2023.


Teresa is a Mexican American woman who befriends Alicia. Teresa feels trapped in a dull marriage to Libra. An aspiring writer and avid journalist, she tries to connect to the indigenous side of her Mexican ancestry. Teresa has complicated experiences with several men and is increasing rootless without her husband. After an affair with Alexis, she finally marries a different man.


Alicia is an American woman of Spanish heritage, including “gypsies” on her father’s side. An artist living in New York, Alicia becomes pregnant and has an abortion. Her developing sense of alienation propels her to travel to Mexico in search of her creative and sexual identity.


Libra is Teresa’s first husband. He lacks the education, skills, and motivation to succeed. He takes his wife for granted, which is a factor in her leaving.


Rodney is an African American man with whom Alicia has an affair, to the consternation of her racist father. He is the father of the fetus that Alicia aborts. While she is in Mexico he begins a relationship with an African American woman.


Alexis Valladolid, a Spanish relative, goes to New York and lives with Alicia while trying to make it as a singer. He later gets involved with Teresa, whom he follows to Chicago. She becomes pregnant with his child, but has an abortion. After they separate, he pursues his singing career with greater dedication.

El Gallo

El Gallo is Alexis’s friend and traveling companion to the United States. Separated from his wife, he has an affair with Alicia after she breaks with Rodney, but later moves back to Spain and his wife.


Abdel, a Vietnam veteran, is an artist friend of Alicia’s from art school. During the affair she has with him while he is divorcing his wife, he moves into her apartment. Jealous of what he believes is her superior talent, he destroys her work. He later dies by suicide.

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