The Characters

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

The characters of Tieta, the Goat Girl are, if not predictable, at least vaguely familiar to loyal Amadophiles. Since the publication of Gabriela, cravo e canela (1958; Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, 1962), Amado has been producing novels peopled by a motley array of protagonists, including drunks, bums, womanizers, charlatans, whores, and assorted ne’er-do-wells, all of whom seem to share a single salient characteristic of indifference or even outright hostility to society’s norms. Tieta is part of the long literary tradition of whores-with-a-heart-of-gold, but she is also representative of protagonists in a very Amadian canon. Her sexual awareness comes at an early age, when, as a goatherd, she witnesses the billy goat Inácio introducing the initially reluctant nanny goats into adulthood. At the age of thirteen, she is chased across the dunes by a randy itinerant vendor and caught rather too easily after which she is sexually insatiable. Her father beats her and runs her out of the house because of this proclivity, but she continues to be sexually active and is delighted to learn the “sauces and spices” of the operation with one of her early lovers. She goes from full-time prostitution to a rather more sedate but nevertheless illicit relationship with Felipe, whose death precipitates her visit to Agreste. Through it all, she has sent her family money, and she never mentions to her father the source of her large income. Tieta’s seduction of Ricardo is typical Amado as well: She is at the moment without a...

(The entire section is 632 words.)

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Antonieta Esteves Cantarelli

Antonieta Esteves Cantarelli (ahn-tohn-ee-EH-tah ehs-TEH-vehs kahn-tah-REH-lee), also called Tieta (tee-EH-tah), the wealthy owner of the Lord’s Retreat, a sophisticated bordello in São Paulo. A middle-aged, curly haired brunette who covers her tall, voluptuous, dark-skinned body in red turbans, blonde wigs, and skin-tight jeans, the sexy Tieta unashamedly lusts for good men, fine food, and unbridled laughter. Her goatlike stubbornness, pragmatism, and flinty hardness sometimes conflict with her genuine loving and kindness but just as often translate her generosity into action. Tieta’s arrival in backward Sant’Ana do Agreste to visit her impoverished relatives and birthplace catalyzes changes in the town and crises in many characters. She uses her bordello-related influence to obtain electricity for the town, which attracts the interest of the deadly titanium dioxide industry. Her many acts of goodness earn for her the title of saint, until the town discovers her true profession and her seduction of her nephew.

Ascânio Trindade

Ascânio Trindade (ahs-KAYN-yoh treen-DAH-deh), Agreste’s county clerk. A good-looking, serious-faced official, twenty-eight years old, Ascânio is frank, friendly, honest, kind, and sometimes excitable in his dreams about a possible bright future for Agreste. He suffers a cruel betrayal by his betrothed, from which he does not recover until he falls in love with Leonora. In his sincere dreams for progress, the innocent Ascânio becomes the pawn of the titanium dioxide industry as the industry’s candidate for mayor. This influence gradually corrupts him. His last vestiges of goodness are shattered when he discovers that Leonora is a prostitute.

Ricardo Batista


(The entire section is 814 words.)