The Underdogs Characters
The main characters in The Underdogs are Demetrio Macías, Luis Cervantes, Camila, and War Paint.
- Demetrio Macías: The protagonist, Demetrio Macías, is a peasant from a small Indian village who joins the Mexican Revolution and fights without understanding his own motives.
- Luis Cervantes: A former medical student and journalist, Cervantes embraces the revolutionary cause and deserts the Federales to fight in Demetrio's band.
- Camila: Camila is a young woman who becomes Demetrio's companion. She travels with the revolutionaries until she is killed by War Paint.
- War Paint: War Paint is a formidable woman revolutionary who introduces Demetrio and his men to the practice of pillaging.
Demetrio embodies the spirit, courage, and charisma of the revolutionaries' fight against the Mexican government. He is illiterate, a peasant, and an Indian. He loves his home in Límon, his wife, and his son. The trajectory of his character in the novel moves from honorable leader to challenged and limited general to completely disillusioned post-revolutionary figure. When readers first meet Demetrio, he is hiding and likely in shock after another gunshot wound, just one of “half a dozen” that he has suffered. He confronts the Federales, and an odd exchange allows him to go free because one of the Federales respects Demetrio as a man with a cause. Demetrio escapes to the mountains seeking shelter, safety, and a repast so that he can heal his wounds. He is a figure of strength, courage, and resilience that inspires his men. In Remigia’s small hut, the reader begins to see another side of Demetrio—one that has limits to his heroism. He makes advances toward Camila, a young girl, while on the revolutionary war path. After one of their victories, Demetrio shoots an innocent man and sets fire to a house. Demetrio is essentially apolitical. He tells Luis Cervantes that he does not understand politics. He represents the peasants who were swept up in the revolution.
Cervantes is a journalist and medical student who initially joined the Federales. He became a trusted confidant to many soldiers, who shared their stories of being rousted from their homes and subsequently becoming embittered by their treatment at the hands of the government. After being beaten and disillusioned by the government’s position himself, Cervantes walks into Demetrio’s camp having embraced the ideology of the revolution. His medical knowledge proves valuable, and he is an inspiration to “Doc,” encouraging him to gain a medical degree. Cervantes carries the highest sense of idealism for the revolutionary cause, and his joining the revolution catches the attention of an old friend, Solís. Over time, Luis learns of the factionalization that has overcome the revolution and becomes disillusioned once again. He eventually leaves Mexico for the United States, embodying both youthful idealism and practicality.
Montanés is a loyal friend to Demetrio. He can at once be violent and compassionate in his loyalty to his cause. He seeks to be understood when he is with Luis Cervantes. After Cervantes demonstrates his intelligence and character, Anastasio opens up. He is not simply a dirty and ragged man: he has ten oxen of his own and is quite content with his accomplishments. He enjoys harassing the Federales and joins the revolutionaries only to help Demetrio.
Pancracio is a freckled, smooth-faced young man with violent tendencies. His misguided decision-making may be due to his youth. When he and Manteco, another man in the camp, play cards, Pancracio’s impulsiveness shows itself—their interactions always end with insults and, frequently, physical fighting. Pancracio gives everything he has in battle.
Remigia is an old woman who treats Demetrio’s gunshot wound in her hut using traditional indigenous medicine practices, including a pigeon sliced in half. The other women in her village...
(The entire section is 2,474 words.)