Clara del Valle
Severo and Nivea del Valle's daughter, Esteban's
wife, and Blanca, Jaime, and Nicolas's mother. The key female figure
in the novel, Clara is the connection between the Trueba and del
Valle families. She is clairvoyant and only sporadically attentive
to domestic chores, but she holds her family together through her love
and predictions. She is always surrounded by animals and flowers.
Clara marries Esteban because she understands that it is her fate.
After he hits her she never talks to him again, but she maintains
a civil relationship with him until her death.
in-depth analysis of Clara del Valle.
The patriarch of the Trueba
family. He narrates sections of the novel in the first person. Esteban
builds a vast fortune through hard work, a violent temper, and Conservative
politics. He marries Clara and becomes a senator. Esteban's penchant
for turning his violence on his workers and his family creates deep
tensions in the family, which are finally resolved through his love
and respect for his granddaughter Alba.
in-depth analysis of Esteban Trueba.
and Pedro Tercero's daughter, Clara and Esteban's granddaughter.
Alba reunites the family after her grandparents' estrangement, through
her love for them and their love for her. She devotes her life to
her family and to her love for Miguel. Alba becomes the object of
all of Esteban Garcia's hatred. In the epilogue, Alba emerges as
the voice behind the third person narration of the story.
in-depth analysis of Alba.
and Esteban's first born. Blanca falls in love with Pedro Tercero
at a young age and throughout her life defies her father to meet
with him as often as possible. Blanca is caught with Pedro Tercero
and they are forced to separate for a time, during which Blanca
is forced to marry Jean de Satigny. Blanca leaves Jean just before giving
birth to her daughter by Pedro Tercero, Alba. Blanca raises Alba
in her parents' house and continues meeting Pedro Tercero, but refuses
to run away with him until after the military coup when they flee together
in-depth analysis of Blanca.
Segundo's son. As a young boy, Pedro Tercero falls deeply in love
with Blanca and continues to love her throughout his life. As he
reaches adolescence, Pedro Tercero becomes a revolutionary and a songwriter.
He is greatly respected by the peasants and his music is very popular
with revolutionary students. First for his revolutionary activities
and then for his relations with Blanca, Pedro Tercero is banned
from Tres Marias, but he continues to meet Blanca in secret. He
eventually pays for these meetings with three of his fingers, but
he still does not give up Blanca. When the Socialists come to power,
Pedro Tercero joins the government. At Blanca's request, he saves
Esteban's life. After the military coup, Esteban saves his life
and helps him to escape to Canada with Blanca.
Garcia's son. Pedro Segundo is the foreman and caretaker of Tres
Marias. Although he works closely with Esteban for much of his life,
he never becomes friends with Esteban, but he does develop a close
friendship with Clara. Pedro Segundo never joins the revolutionaries,
nor does he denounce them. He leaves Tres Marias after Esteban discovers
that his son Pedro Tercero is Blanca's lover.
and Esteban Trueba's grandson. Esteban Garcia despises Esteban Trueba
for not allowing him to be acknowledged. As a boy, he turns Pedro
Tercero in to Esteban. Later, he requests Esteban's help to enter the
police force and eventually rises to become the leader of the military
coup, in the process venting much of his anger on Alba.
of Pedro Segundo. Pedro Garcia is one of the oldest residents of
Tres Marias. Wise in the ways of nature, Pedro Garcia rids the property
of the ant plague and sets all of Esteban's bones when they are
broken in an earthquake.
Trueba's older sister. Ferula is jealous of Esteban. After Dona
Ester's death, she moves in with Esteban and Clara. Ferula and Clara
become great friends. Ferula secretly desires Clara. When Esteban discovers
Ferula in bed with Clara, he throws Ferula out of the house forever.
As she leaves, Ferula curses Esteban. Many years later, Ferula dies
in one of the city's poor neighborhoods. Clara washes Ferula's body herself.
Rosa the Beautiful
The oldest del Valle daughter. Rosa is exceptionally
beautiful, with transparent skin, yellow eyes, and green hair. She
is engaged to Esteban Trueba but dies before they can marry, accidentally
poisoned by brandy intended for Severo.
younger brother. Miguel first sees Alba at her birth, and when he
meets her again eighteen years later he falls in love with her.
Their relationship lasts through the end of the book. Miguel is
also a revolutionary who joins the guerrillas after the military coup.
of Esteban and Clara's twin boys. Jaime studies medicine and devotes
his life to helping the poor.
twin brother. Nicolas inherits Uncle Marcos's penchant for travel
and invention. He pursues spiritual enlightenment, embarrassing
Esteban, and is sent out of the country.
housekeeper and nurse of the del Valle family, Nana is especially
close to Clara. After Severo and Nivea's deaths, Nana moves to the
Trueba household as their housekeeper.
peasant girl at Tres Marias. She is raped by Esteban Trueba, taken
into his house as a housekeeper, and then thrown out when she becomes
pregnant. She is the mother of an illegitimate son of Esteban Trueba's,
who is the child's namesake. Pancha passes on to her son Esteban
Garcia and then her grandson Esteban Garcia her resentment toward
Jean de Satigny
Blanca's husband. Jean de Satigny is a French immigrant
who wants to join de Trueba family through business or marriage.
He is able to marry Blanca thanks to his revelation of her affair
and her subsequent pregnancy. When Blanca discovers his sexual eccentricities,
she leaves him.
Nivea del Valle
The mother of Clara, Rosa, and thirteen other children.
Nivea is a suffragette. She dies, decapitated, in a car accident.
Severo del Valle
Clara's father. Severo is a businessman who becomes
a politician with the Liberal party.
favorite brother, and Clara's favorite uncle. He is an explorer
and inventor who stays with the del Valle family between trips.
Although Uncle Marcos dies early on, he leaves his books and stories,
which pass on to every del Valle-Trueba child.
Dona Ester Trueba
The proud Dona Ester Trueba is a direct descendant
of one of Peru's oldest families. In her youth she fell in love
with and married the lower class immigrant Trueba. The money she
brought to the marriage quickly ran out, her husband died, and she
is afflicted by severe arthritis which confines her to a wheelchair.
She dies shortly after Esteban has finished restoring Tres Marias.
prostitute that Esteban Trueba first encounters while restoring
Tres Marias. Transito borrows money from Esteban to move to the
city and establish a brothel there. In good faith, Transito returns
the favor to Esteban many years later by helping him secure Alba after
she is captured.
lower class woman, active in university counter-culture. She has
a relationship with Nicolas and gets pregnant. Jaime, who is in
love with her, performs the abortion. Shortly after the abortion,
Amanda disappears from the story. She reappears twenty years later
when Jaime helps to save her from illness due to drug addiction.
Diaz is student revolutionary who first meets Alba during the occupation
of the university. Later Ana helps Alba to survive in the military
dictator's detention centers.
Father Jose Dulce Maria
A revolutionary priest from Tres Marias. He teaches
and repeatedly helps Pedro Tercero.
Never given any other name in the story, The Candidate
runs for president for the Socialist Party every single year, never
expecting to win. Over these years he and Jaime become friends.
He is as surprised as the Conservatives are when he wins the election.
He does his best as president, but he has great difficulties running
the country in the face of the Conservative's attempts to undermine
his government. He is one of the first people killed during the
An itinerant doctor who diagnoses Clara's mutism.
He realizes that Clara has stopped speaking because she does not
want to speak.
Professor Sebastian Gomez
Sebastian Gomez is a professor at the university
that Alba and Miguel attend. He helps them to organize the occupation
of the school.
given a more specific name, the Poet is friends with Clara and a
frequent visitor at the big house on the corner.
King of the Pressure Cookers
of Blanca's many suitors. Esteban does not like him because he appears
to be Jewish.
del Valle's dog.
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!