Tita de la Garza
Tita is the novel’s protagonist. She is the youngest daughter of Juan and Elena de la Garza. As the youngest daughter, she is forbidden from marrying because she must devote her life to taking… read analysis of Tita de la Garza
Mama Elena (Elena de la Garza)
“Mama Elena” is the matriarch of the De la Garza family and the novel’s antagonist. She is the wife of Juan De la Garza and the mother of Tita, Rosaura, and Gertrudis… read analysis of Mama Elena (Elena de la Garza)
Rosaura is Tita’s older sister. She is Pedro’s wife, and the mother of Roberto and Esperanza. As a child, she is a “picky eater” who is afraid of the kitchen. She agrees… read analysis of Rosaura
Gertrudis is Rosaura and Tita’s sister. She is born to Mama Elena through her illicit affair with Jose Treviño. As a child, Gertrudis loves music and dance. As a young woman, she is… read analysis of Gertrudis
Esperanza is the youngest child of Rosaura and Pedro, and the wife of Alex Brown. Her name, chosen by her aunt Tita, means, “hope.” She grows up spending hours in the kitchen… read analysis of Esperanza
Nacha is the elderly cook at the De la Garza ranch. She begins working there as a young woman, when Mama Elena is still a child. She becomes engaged, but the mother of Mama Elena… read analysis of Nacha
Chencha is the De la Garza’s maid and Tita’s friend. She begins working at the ranch at a young age. She skillfully uses hard work and imaginative lies to manage Mama Elena’s cruel… read analysis of Chencha
Dr. John Brown
John is the De la Garza’s family doctor and Tita’s fiancée. John is a widower and the father of Alex Brown. He is of mixed heritage, as the grandson of North-American immigrants and… read analysis of Dr. John Brown
Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu”
Morning Light is the grandmother of Dr. John Brown. She comes from an indigenous tribe called the Kikapu. As a young woman, she is taken captive by John’s grandfather, who brings her home… read analysis of Morning Light/ “The Old Indian Woman”/ “The Kikapu”
Juan de la Garza
Juan de la Garza is Mama Elena’s husband. He is the biological father of Tita and Rosaura. Little is said about Juan’s character. He dies from a heart attack two days after Tita’s… read analysis of Juan de la Garza
Juan is a captain in the rebel army. He is the lover and later husband of Gertrudis. He first appears on horseback when he carries Gertrudis away to make love. He then leaves Gertrudis… read analysis of Juan Alejandrez
Jose Treviño is Mama Elena’s secret lover and childhood sweetheart. He is described as “mulatto” because his father was Mexican and his mother was black, the child of escaped slaves from the… read analysis of Jose Treviño
Jesús is Chencha’s childhood sweetheart and later husband, and the father of their baby. As a young man, Chencha’s parents send him away. After years apart, he meets her again and proposes marriage. Contrary… read analysis of Jesús
Mama Elena’s mother
From what little is said about the mother of Mama Elena, it can be inferred that she was tyrannical like her daughter. As the matriarch of the family when Nacha was a young servant… read analysis of Mama Elena’s mother
Jovita is Tita’s childhood schoolteacher. She is widowed at a young age and left to raise a child as a single mother. She never has any suitors or love interests again. Jovita goes half… read analysis of Jovita
Don Pascual Musquiz
Don Pascual Musquiz is Pedro’s father. He supports his son’s decision to ask for Tita’s hand in marriage, and he later questions his son’s choice to marry Rosaura even though he doesn’t love her.
Roberto is the first child of Rosaura and Pedro. Tita delivers and nurses him, and loves him as her own son. He dies as a baby after Mama Elena sends Pedro and Rosaura away to live in San Antonio.
Alex is Dr. John Brown’s son, the husband of Esperanza, and the father of the novel’s narrator. His mother dies when he is very young. Like his father, he becomes a doctor. When they meet as young adults, he and Esperanza fall in love at first sight.
The unnamed narrator of the novel is the daughter of Esperanza and Alex Brown. She seems to have a special connection to her great-aunt Tita, though the two never met, and she also loves to cook.
Aunt Mary is Dr. John Brown’s elderly aunt from the United States. She is deaf and reads lips. She is gracious and kind to Tita.
The grandfather of Dr. John Brown was a white man who came to Mexico along with his parents from North America. He kidnapped Morning Light and brought her home as his wife.
Mary (John’s great-grandmother)
Mary was Dr. John Brown’s great-grandmother. She was from North America and opposed to her son marrying an indigenous woman, Morning Light.
Sergeant Treviño is one of the soldiers in Gertrudis’ troop. He is fiercely loyal to Gertrudis because he is secretly in love with her. (There is no stated relationship between Jose Treviño and Sergeant Treviño.)
The Loboses are the nearest neighbors to the De la Garza family.
Paquita Lobos is an older member of the Lobos family, the De la Garza’s neighbors. She is fond of Tita, though she tends to make quick moral judgments about her behavior.
Nicolas is the longtime ranch manager for the De La Garza family.
Rosalio and Guadalupe
Rosalio and Guadalupe are the ranch hands for the De la Garza family.
Father Ignacio is the priest at the church that the De la Garza family attends near Piedras Negras.