The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Asturias is not primarily concerned with the psychological development of individual characters. Rather, the characters in this novel, through their actions and dialogues, represent the many types of people involved in the life on the banana plantations.

Adelaido Lucero is the first character introduced in the novel and it is his lifetime in the company town that provides the time frame of the novel. He is the prototype of his generation, which spends its lifetime in the service of the company. Lucero represents the experience, values, and beliefs of his people. It is around Adelaido Lucero that Asturias weaves the interactions of the major and minor characters of the novel.

Lester Mead, the American, is the most important character. Asturias first introduces him as Cosi, the vendor of sewing articles, known for his loud laugh, which people take as a sign that he is insane. Far from being a sign of his insanity, however, the laugh demonstrates his disdain for the accepted ways of doing things. He is known as Lester Mead in his role as independent grower and founder of the cooperative, and, at the end of the novel, he is revealed to be Lester Stoner, a major investor in Tropbanana. These three aspects of Mead, represented by his three names, are complementary. Cosi-Mead-Stoner is the nonconformist-idealist tempered by pragmatism.

Other characters are used by Asturias to present ideas through dialogue and actions rather than by...

(The entire section is 463 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Lester Mead

Lester Mead, also called Cosi and Lester Stoner, the green-eyed millionaire organizer of a banana growers’ cooperative in an unnamed Latin American country. He left his life as a millionaire for adventure in the tropics. Under the name of Cosi, he is an itinerant salesman of sewing supplies. After his marriage to Leland Foster, he is known as Lester Mead. He buys land and becomes an independent banana grower. When the Tropical Banana Company (Tropbanana) refuses to buy the independent growers’ bananas, he organizes them into a cooperative to sell their crop elsewhere. He goes to Tropbanana headquarters to try to convince company executives to stop exploiting the banana growers. When members of his cooperative are jailed for heading an uprising against Tropbanana, he bribes an official to release them. Under his true identity as Lester Stoner, a millionaire and a major stockholder in Tropbanana, he travels to New York to urge other stockholders to pressure the company to treat the growers justly and honestly and thereby ensure for themselves a profitable and stable investment. While in New York, he prepares his will, in which he names his wife as beneficiary and the cooperative as the second beneficiary in the event of her death. When he returns to his banana farm, he is killed by the strong wind conjured up to destroy Tropbanana.

Adelaido Lucero

Adelaido Lucero (ah-deh-

(The entire section is 503 words.)