Andrés Hurtado (ahn-DREHS ewr-TAH-doh), a medical doctor. A permanent feeling of loneliness that became more acute after his mother’s death has made Andrés withdrawn, melancholy, and sad in appearance. He defines himself as a partisan of the Republican Party and as an upholder of the cause of the poor, but his true commitment is to literature and things intellectual. His main concern is to find a rational explanation for the formation of the world and, at the same time, for life and humankind. At the beginning of the novel, Andrés is attending his first medical classes at the Institute of San Isidro in Madrid. Despite the fact that Andrés does not show a profound calling for medicine, he continues his studies, completing his internship in the hospitals of Madrid, where he witnesses all forms of abuse and misery. Finally, he is graduated. After two disappointing and weakening experiences, one as a rural doctor and the other in a public hospital in Madrid, he weds an old friend, Lulú, and begins a new job as translator of technical papers for a journal. Later, other personal experiences lead him to the extreme decision to commit suicide.
Lulú (lew-LEW), Andrés Hurtado’s wife. Lulú is unattractive and has a caustic disposition, but she is intelligent, noble, and progressive in her thinking. Julio...
(The entire section is 512 words.)