The Bridge of San Luis Rey

by

Thornton Wilder

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Esteban’s twin brother. Manuel is almost exactly like his brother, except that whereas Esteban is completely satisfied by their close sibling bond, Manuel becomes infatuated with the actress Camila Perichole. His new passion almost drives him away apart from his brother, but eventually he renounces her in order to preserve their relationship. Shortly thereafter, he dies as the result of a sudden infection. His death forces Esteban to contemplate life as an independent and unattached man for the first time.

Manuel Quotes in The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The The Bridge of San Luis Rey quotes below are all either spoken by Manuel or refer to Manuel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Acts of God and Individual Will Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Collins edition of The Bridge of San Luis Rey published in 1927.
Part 3: Esteban Quotes

[…] for just as resignation was a word insufficient to describe the spiritual change that came over the Marquesa de Montemayor on that night in the inn in Cluxambuqua, so love is inadequate to describe the tacit almost ashamed oneness of these brothers […] there existed a need of one another so terrible that it produced miracles as naturally as the charged air of a sultry day produces lightning.

Related Characters: Esteban, Manuel
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

Pleasure was no longer as simple as eating; it was being complicated by love. Now was beginning that crazy loss of one’s self, that neglect of everything but one’s dramatic thoughts about the beloved, that feverish inner life all turning upon the Perichole and which would so have astonished and disgusted her had she been permitted to divine it.

Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

It was merely that in the heart of one of them there was left room for an elaborate imaginative attachment and in the heart of the other there was not. Manuel could not quite understand this […] but he did understand that Esteban was suffering […] and at once, in one unhesitating stroke of the will, he removed the Perichole from his heart.

Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Bridge of San Luis Rey LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey PDF

Manuel Character Timeline in The Bridge of San Luis Rey

The timeline below shows where the character Manuel appears in The Bridge of San Luis Rey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 3: Esteban
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
...at the door of the Abbess’s convent. The nuns take them in and name them Manuel and Esteban. Although their parents are never discovered, Limean gossips view their graceful bearing as... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
Although she’s generally suspicious of men, the Abbess grows fond of Manuel and Esteban, treating them to cakes and telling them biblical stories. When they are too... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
Art and Memory Theme Icon
Because they lack a family and were brought up exclusively by women, Manuel and Esteban are quite reserved. Although they are extremely close, they dislike the “continual comment... (full context)
Art and Memory Theme Icon
One night, Manuel and Esteban see a play at the invitation of a theater manager they sometimes work... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
Now, Manuel lurks outside the theater on any possible pretext. This is the first time “his will... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
For Esteban, however, life with Manuel is enough to keep him content forever. He doesn’t have “room in his imagination” for... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
One night, a message boy tells Manuel that the Perichole wants to see him immediately. Manuel goes straight to the theater, where... (full context)
Art and Memory Theme Icon
For the next two months, Manuel writes letters for the Perichole without ever telling Esteban what he’s doing. One night, to... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
After the Perichole leaves, Manuel sits with his head in his hands, whispering about how much he worships her. Esteban... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
Dogma vs. Altruism Theme Icon
Blowing out the candle, Manuel feigns casual boredom and says that he’s tired of writing for the Perichole and doesn’t... (full context)
Acts of God and Individual Will Theme Icon
One night, Manuel cuts his knee on a piece of metal. Although neither of the brothers have ever... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
In the middle of the night, delirious with pain and anger, Manuel shouts curses at his brother, saying he hopes he goes to hell and saying that... (full context)
Art and Memory Theme Icon
As dawn draws near, Manuel returns to his senses and is as kind to his brother as he normally is.... (full context)
Acts of God and Individual Will Theme Icon
During the second night of Manuel’s illness, their neighbors begin to protest at his shouting and coarse language. Esteban tries to... (full context)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...brother’s body before the funeral. He stubbornly refuses, and even tells her that he is Manuel, and not Esteban. The Abbess remembers a moment during their childhood when she told them... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Esteban and Manuel have always respected Captain Alvarado and even done some work for him in the past,... (full context)
Love and Obsession Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...Alvarado tries to coax him, Esteban goes upstairs. He doesn’t know what to do, since Manuel always made all the decisions. Captain Alvarado can hear noises from downstairs, and he thinks... (full context)