Ernesto Guevara is both the memoir’s author and its protagonist. The book is a collection of his edited notes from a motorcycle trip that he and his friend Alberto took across South America when they… read analysis of Ernesto Guevara
Alberto is Ernesto’s friend and comrade in adventure. A fellow medical student, he shares Ernesto’s upper-middle class background, and both men aspire to become doctors at the beginning of the trip. Alberto is older than… read analysis of Alberto Granado
Chichina is Ernesto’s girlfriend at the outset of the narrative, although by the end they have parted ways. Like Ernesto, she comes from an upper-middle class family. Unlike Ernesto, she is fully committed to… read analysis of Chichina
These are friends of Alberto, whom he and Ernesto visit before crossing into Chile. One has a wife who is deeply suspicious of their aimless wandering and worries they’ll tempt her husband away from… read analysis of Older Doctors
The mine workers are a husband and wife whom Ernesto and Alberto meet on the way to the Chuquicamata copper mine. Both had lost their jobs in another mine because they were members of the… read analysis of Mine Workers
The curator of the archeological museum is a mestizo, a rare example of an educated Indian who has made it into the middle class. He influences Ernesto’s political views by talking to him about… read analysis of Museum Curator
Dr. Hugo Pesce
Dr. Pesce is a renowned Peruvian leprologist who takes Ernesto and Alberto under his wing when they visit Lima. He directs a large hospital, whose patients Ernesto and Alberto befriend. He’s very gregarious, hosting dinners… read analysis of Dr. Hugo Pesce
Dr. Bresciani is the director of the San Pablo Leper Colony. Even though he has almost no money or resources at his command, he presides over a group of patients with remarkably high morale and… read analysis of Dr. Bresciani
Just like his mother, Ernesto’s father is known to the reader only through the letters Ernesto writes to him. These letters are affectionate, but a little more serious in tone than the letters to… read analysis of Ernesto’s father
The stranger is a political activist that Ernesto meets in Venezuela. Although Ernesto provides almost no concrete details about him, he hints that he’s from Europe and was involved in a Communist movement there. The… read analysis of The Stranger
Although the reader doesn’t know much about this character, it’s clear from Ernesto’s affectionate letters that he has a good relationship with her and cares for her deeply.
The schoolteacher is an educated Indian whom Ernesto and Alberto meet on a truck ride in Peru. He explains the need to reform the education system so that Indians are taught to be proud, rather than ashamed, of their ancient heritage.
Dr. Hermosa is a Peruvian leprosy expert who guides Ernesto and Alberto through Cuzco. He directs them to archeological sites, like Machu Picchu, that kindle Ernesto’s appreciation of indigenous culture.
Julio Tello is the curator of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Lima.