The protagonist and narrator of the novel, a young Chicano boy growing up in Guadalupe, New Mexico. Antonio (or Tony) has a great desire for knowledge and wrestles with many difficult questions about life and… (read full character analysis)
A kind, elderly curandera (healing-woman) who comes to live with the Márez family. Ultima has strange powers and shares a deep connection with the earth. She befriends Antonio and becomes his mentor and guide. Ultima… (read full character analysis)
Antonio's father, a former vaquero (cowboy) of the llano. Gabriel prizes freedom above all else, and is often bitter against the town and his wife for taking him from the llano. He drinks whiskey… (read full character analysis)
The antagonist of the novel, Tenorio owns a saloon in El Puerto. It is implied that he practices witchcraft, and his daughters are brujas (witches). When Ultima turns their own curse against them he vows… (read full character analysis)
María Luna Márez
Antonio's mother, a devout Catholic from a family of farmers. She dislikes Gabriel's llano friends and wants Antonio to become a priest and lead the Lunas. María is very emotional and prays to the Virgin Mary in times of both trouble and happiness.
A friend of the family from the llano, Narciso is a huge man who is usually drunk. He has a special power of making plants grow and is a force of goodness in Antonio's world, protecting the family and defending Ultima until he is killed by Tenorio.
Another friend of Antonio, Cico seems kinder and wiser than the rest. He is the one who shows Tony the golden carp and tells him the prophecy of the flood that will destroy the town.
Antonio's brother who remains at home when the other two leave. Andrew still seems lost and depressed because of his experiences in the war, and spends most of his time at Rosie's brothel.
Another of Antonio's older brothers, the leader of the three and the one who has the idea to leave home after they return from the war. He seems to argue the most with his parents, especially Gabriel.
Antonio's third brother, who also fought in World War II and returns feeling depressed and displaced.
A man from town driven mad by his experiences in the war. He shoots the town's sheriff and then is hunted down and killed by a group of men. His is the first death Antonio sees.
Antonio's wise friend who likes to fish and first tells him about the golden carp.
The priest who teaches the catechism class and delivers a terrifying sermon on the eternity of hell.
The Trementina Sisters
Tenorio's daughters, brujas (or witches) who curse Lucas and then are punished by Ultima. Two of them die, fueling Tenorio's rage against Ultima.
Antonio's favorite uncle, María's brother, and the most talkative of the silent Luna farmers.
Another of Antonio's Luna uncles, Lucas is cursed by the Trementina sisters and saved by Ultima.
The third Luna uncle, also a quiet farmer and Catholic.
Antonio's grandfather, friends with Ultima and head of the Luna family.
Gabriel's friend from the llano, whose house becomes haunted by ancient spirits controlled by the Trementinas.
One of Antonio's friends from town, a wild and violent boy who looks and acts like a horse.
Another boy from town, even wilder and more unpredictable than Horse and unafraid of punishment.
A boy who seems to especially dislike Antonio.
Another member of the gang, who urinates during the pageant.
A boy made fun of for being a Protestant.
The Vitamin Kid
A member of the gang of Antonio's friends who is famously fast and always races people across the bridge.
A boy who likes to remind people they could be sued.
One of Antonio's older sisters, she likes to play with dolls and speak in English.
Antonio's other sister.
Jasón's father and the sheriff's brother. His appearance and drive for revenge against Lupito begins the conflict of the novel.
One of Antonio's friends who is friends with an Indian despite being forbidden to see the Indian by his father.
One of the last Indians, who apparently first told Jasón the story of the golden carp.
Antonio's first schoolteacher, who understands Spanish and knows the family.
Another teacher, who is kind but doesn't understand Spanish.
The owner of the town brothel.
The town policeman.
The Flying Man
Ultima's legendary instructor who taught her magic and gave her the owl.