Carlos de Mello
Carlos de Mello (MEH-yoh), the protagonist and narrator, whose life in Recife, in the state of Paraíba, Brazil, comes to a sudden end when his father murders his mother in a rage of insanity. Carlos is only four years old when he sees his blood-covered mother dead and his father taken away to an asylum for the insane. He never sees his father again. Only three days later, he leaves the city for his maternal grandfather’s sugar plantation in the country, Santa Rosa, where he learns to be a “plantation boy.” At the plantation, Carlos learns a new way of life and is initiated into the mysteries of sex at an early age. First, he watches animals procreate, then he experiments with animals himself. He has a precocious relationship with a girl named Judith and develops an abiding interest in masturbation. At the age of twelve, he first has sex with a woman and promptly gets a painful case of syphilis that requires extensive treatment. He is cured in time to go away to boarding school, but he takes with him his morbid fear of death and disease, his deep pessimism, and his nervous nature—all the result of the tragic events in his early years.
Colonel José Paulino Cazuza
Colonel José Paulino Cazuza (hoh-SEH pow-LEE-noh kah-SEW-sah), Carlos’ maternal grandfather, owner of the Santa...
(The entire section is 591 words.)