Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Demetrio Macías

Demetrio Macías (day-MAY-tree-oh mah-SEE-ahs), a Mexican Indian who fights against government forces in the Mexican Revolution. Demetrio rebels against the government as a result of the treatment he receives at the hands of Federalist troops. He has no personal ambition, but his bravery and leadership eventually earn him the rank of general. Still, he is not a student of the rebel cause. His reasons for fighting at the outset are simple, even personal; later, he does not know why he continues to fight. His men wreak havoc on the many towns they enter, but Demetrio, in general, is not the sociopathic thug that so many of his men are, and he often steps in to keep their behavior in check. Demetrio is successful at defeating his enemy in battle but rejects several chances to kill those who have wronged him. He will not consider immigrating to the United States. He is an essentially peaceful man who has reacted to his circumstances. His only wish is to return home and to a peaceful life. He does return home, but the revolution does not provide him with a peaceful end.

Luis Cervantes

Luis Cervantes (lew-EES sehr-VAHN-tehs), a pseudointellectual who joins Demetrio’s troupe, claiming to be a former journalist who has just deserted from the Federalist forces. He has deserted in part because he has come to see the truth about the government’s side, and he sympathizes with the poor and oppressed, represented by the rebels. How much of Cervantes’ story and, more important, his stated beliefs about the revolution is true is often difficult to discern. It takes some time for Demetrio and his men to trust him. He has the ability to intellectualize the revolution in all the ways in which Demetrio cannot, and it is Cervantes who encourages Demetrio to take his rightful place in history. Cervantes, however, looks out for himself. He always keeps himself out of harm’s way during battle, he collects booty when the opportunity arises, and he finally immigrates to Texas, from where he invites another of Demetrio’s men to come so the two of them can open a Mexican restaurant together.


Solís (soh-LEES), a true intellectual who has become disillusioned with the rebel cause. Solís appears only briefly, but his conversation with Cervantes provides an important view of the revolution, one probably similar to the author’s view. Solís began as an idealist and supported the rebel cause, but he has come to see the revolution as a hurricane and its participants like leaves in the wind, simply swept up by circumstances. He still appreciates the revolution on an ideal, theoretical level, but in the hands of the thugs who have executed it, he recognizes that it has become nothing more than an arena for robbery and murder. Solís is killed by a stray bullet as he and Cervantes talk.


Blondie (or Whitey Margarito, depending on the edition of the translation), a rebel who exhibits outrageous, even sadistic, behavior. Virtually all of Demetrio’s men display repugnant, criminal behavior (and in fact share criminal pasts), but Blondie’s behavior borders on the criminally insane. For example, he tortures a prisoner by dragging him down a road with a rope around his neck, and he makes an innocent person he meets in the street dance by shooting at his feet.


Camilla (kah-MEE-yah) or Camila (kah-MEE-lah), depending on the edition of the translation, a young woman who helps nurse a wounded Demetrio back to health. Her interests lie in Cervantes, who ignores her. Later, Cervantes tricks her into coming to join Demetrio, who has expressed an interest in her. She comes to care for Demetrio, but her criticism of the barbaric behavior of Blondie lands her on the wrong side of War Paint, who brutally murders her later.

War Paint

War Paint or La Pintada (lah peen-TAH-dah), depending on the edition of the translation, a camp follower and armed female thug who accompanies Demetrio’s men. At first, she expresses interest in Demetrio, but soon she is back at Blondie’s side. She is jealous of Camilla on many levels, and when Demetrio orders the women not to accompany the men—an order instigated by Camilla—La Pintada, already enraged by Camilla’s comments about Blondie’s behavior, stabs Camilla to death in front of Demetrio and his men. Her attitude and actions are surpassed in their criminal nature only by those of Blondie.

The Underdogs List of Characters

Anastasio Montañes
A bearded, tough, and compassionate soldier for Demetrio, Anastasio is a loyal and courageous fighter in the revolutionary forces.

Demetrio Macías
He is an American Indian peasant from Límon who is frustrated by the government of Diaz and the pillaging and rape of the Federales in the Mexican government. Demetrio’s charisma and sharp marksmanship make him a leader in the revolutionary forces fighting in the Mexican Revolution. He has a wife and son in Límon.

She is poor young girl living in a small village of huts along the trails of mountains in Mexico. She cares for Demetrio and also tries to start a relationship with Luis Cervantes.

Luis Cervantes
He fights for the Federales until he becomes disillusioned with their cause. He is found by Demetrio’s men and later welcomed into the revolutionary forces. Luis is a medical student and a journalist. He wrote pieces about the revolutionaries and the Federales came after him to stop him from continuing his writing. Luis calls himself a coreligionist with the same ideals as the revolutionaries.

She is one of Remigia’s neighbors. Fortunata’s daughter was taken by the Federales.

He is one of Demetrio’s men.

He is a very spirited soldier under Demetrio’s leadership. He often screams in delight at killing the Federales. He is light-complexioned with a smooth face. He and Manteco stab each other to death in a card game.

La Pintada
A revolutionary who is joined with Demetrio’s men after a key battle, Pintada is a spirited, generous, and complex character. She is a strong female leader among the revolutionaries.

An old friend of Anastasio, Margarito shows an ugly side to the...

(The entire section is 537 words.)

The Underdogs Characters

Demetrio Marcías
Demetrio embodies the spirit, courage, and charisma of the revolutionaries' fight against the Mexican government. He is illiterate, a peasant, and an American 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 a challenged and limited general, to a completely disillusioned post-revolutionary figure. He represents the scope of the Mexican Revolution from promise and perspective. 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 also apolitical. He tells Luis Cervantes that he does not understand politics. He represents the charm and brawn of the peasant sector of the revolution.

Luis Cervantes
Luis is a journalist and medical student who joins the Federales. He becomes a trusted confidant to many soldiers who share their stories of being rousted from their homes and subsequently become embittered by their treatment at the hands of the government. After being beaten and disillusioned by the government’s position himself, Luis wanders into Demetrio’s camp. By nature, he is inquisitive and challenging to the cause of the revolutionary men he encounters. His medical knowledge becomes valuable and he is an inspiration to “Doc,” encouraging him to gain a medical degree. Luis carries the highest sense of idealism for the revolutionary cause. His sudden and rapturous turn in the revolution catches the attention of an old friend, Solís. Over time, Luis learns of the decay of the dream within the revolution and becomes disillusioned once again. He leaves Mexico to pursue his dreams in the United States. He embodies the idealism of youth and the practicality of dream catchers. He finds ways to explore but also to complete his goals.

Anastasio Montanés
He is the loyal friend of 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. After Luis demonstrates his intelligence and some degree of his 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. He is with the revolutionaries only to help his friend, Demetrio.

He is a freckled and smooth faced young man with violent tendencies. His misguided decision-making may...

(The entire section is 1280 words.)