The Motorcycle Diaries

by

Ernesto Che Guevara

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Motorcycle Diaries can help.

Ernesto Guevara Character Analysis

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 were medical students in their 20s. Ernesto begins the narrative as an aspiring doctor who is adventurous and somewhat thoughtless, chiefly motivated by excitement and novelty. Over the course of his travels, he and Alberto experience the difficulties of the road, encounter impoverished people, learn about indigenous culture, and see the injustice of foreign companies profiting off of the suffering of laborers. As Ernesto recounts these experiences, his observations become less personal and more political, which reflects the transformation of his goals, values, and personality. Instead of following through on his plan to help others through the medical profession, Ernesto’s experiences radicalize him and set him on a path to becoming a political revolutionary who seeks to create change across a whole society, rather than just for individuals. Since the narrative is structured as a series of informal diary entries, the reader is most often immersed within the consciousness of Ernesto as a younger man: an energetic and naïve traveler who has embarked on a journey whose importance he can’t yet quite grasp. However, occasionally the older narrator Ernesto steps back from the action to reflect on its meaning or to point out how a certain incident was important to his later life. From his narration, it’s clear that Ernesto has become a man for whom ideology and revolution are more important than everything else, including individuality.

Ernesto Guevara Quotes in The Motorcycle Diaries

The The Motorcycle Diaries quotes below are all either spoken by Ernesto Guevara or refer to Ernesto Guevara. 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:
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ocean Press edition of The Motorcycle Diaries published in 2003.
Chapter 1 Quotes

In nine months of a man's life he can think a lot of things, from the loftiest meditations on philosophy to the most desperate longing for a bowl of soup—in total accord with the state of his stomach.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

Man, the measure of all things, speaks here through my mouth and narrates in my own language that which my eyes have seen. It is likely that out of 10 possible heads I have seen only one true tail, or only vise versa….Okay, but this is how the typewriter interpreted those fleeting impulses raising my fingers to the keys, and those impulses have now died. Moreover, no one can be held responsible for them.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

The enormity of our endeavor escaped us in those moments; all we could see was the dust on the road ahead and ourselves on the bike, devouring kilometers in our flight northward.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Related Symbols: La Poderosa
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

I remember the day my friend the sea came to my defense…The beach was deserted and a cold onshore wind was blowing. My head rested in the lap tying me to this land, lulled by everything around. The entire universe drifted rhythmically by, obeying the impulses of my inner voice…And then, for the last time, I heard the ocean’s warning.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Chichina
Related Symbols: Chichina and “Comeback”
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

I now know, by an almost fatalistic conformity with the facts, that my destiny is to travel, or perhaps it's better to say that traveling is our destiny, because Alberto feels the same.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

The huge figure of a stag dashed like a quick breath across the stream and his body, silver by the light of the rising moon, disappeared into the undergrowth. This tremor of nature cut straight to our hearts. We walked slowly so as not to disturb the peace of the wild sanctuary with which we were now communing.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

A feeling of profound unease came over me; I felt that I was incapable of feeling anything. I began to feel afraid for myself and started a tearful letter, but I couldn't write, it was hopeless to try. In the half-light that surrounded us, phantoms swirled around and around but "she" wouldn't appear. I still believed I loved her until this moment, when I realized I felt nothing.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Chichina
Related Symbols: Chichina and “Comeback”
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

[We were] no longer a pair of more or less likable vagrants with a bike in tow; no, we were now "The Experts," and we were treated accordingly.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

It was our last day as "motorized bums"; the next stage seemed set to be more difficult, as "bums without wheels."

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Related Symbols: La Poderosa
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

To a certain extent we had been knights of the road; we belonged to that long-standing "wandering aristocracy" and had calling cards with our impeccable and impressive titles. No longer. Now we were just two hitchhikers with backpacks, and with all the grime of the road stuck to our overalls, shadows of our former selves.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Related Symbols: La Poderosa
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

It is at times like this, when a doctor is conscious of his complete powerlessness, that he longs for change: a change to prevent the injustice of a system in which only a month ago this poor woman was still earning her living as a waitress, wheezing and panting but facing life with dignity.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Old Woman with Asthma
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

It is there, in the final moments, for people whose farthest horizon has always been tomorrow, that one comprehends the profound tragedy circumscribing the life of the proletariat the world over.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Old Woman with Asthma
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

How long this present order, based on an absurd idea of caste, will last is not within my means to answer, but it's time that those who govern spent less time publicizing their own virtues and more money, much more money, funding socially useful works.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Old Woman with Asthma
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

By the light of the single candle illuminating us, drinking mate and eating a piece of bread and cheese, the man's shrunken figure carried a mysterious, tragic air. In his simple, expressive language he recounted his three months in prison, and told us about his starving wife who stood by him with exemplary loyalty, his children left in the care of a kindly neighbor, his fruitless pilgrimage in search of work and his compañeros, mysteriously disappeared and said to be somewhere at the bottom of the sea.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Mine Workers
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

It's a great pity that they repress people like this. Apart from whether collectivism, the "communist vermin" is a danger to decent life, the communism gnawing at his entrails was no more than a natural longing for something better, a protest against persistent hunger transformed into a love for this strange doctrine, whose essence he could never grasp but whose translation, "bread for the poor," was something which he understood and, more importantly, filled him with hope.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Mine Workers
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

And how many of those mountains surrounding their famous brother enclose in their heavy entrails similar riches, as they wait for the soulless arms of the mechanical shovels to devour their insides, spiced as they would be with the inevitable human lives…

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

But the people before us are not the same proud race that repeatedly rose up against Inca rule, forcing them to maintain a permanent army on their borders; these people who watch us walk through the streets of the town are a defeated race. Their stares are tame, almost fearful, and completely indifferent to the outside world.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

He spoke of the need to build schools that would orient individuals within their own world, enabling them to play a useful role within it; of the need to change fundamentally the present system of education, which, on the rare occasion it does offer Indians education (according only to white man's criteria), simply fills them with shame and resentment, rendering them unable to help their fellow Indians and at the severe disadvantage of having to fight within a hostile white society which refuses to accept them.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Schoolteacher
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

The vision of this Cuzco emerges mournfully from the fortress destroyed by the stupidity of illiterate Spanish conquistadors, from the violated ruins of the temples, from the sacked palaces, from the faces of a brutalized race. This is the Cuzco inviting you to become a warrior and to defend, club in hand, the freedom and the life of the Inca.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 29 Quotes

Even today, when the bestial rage of the conquering rabble can be seen in each of the acts designed to eternalize the conquest, and the Inca caste has long since vanished as a dominant power, their stone blocks stand enigmatically, impervious to the ravages of time.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 37 Quotes

Afterwards some of [the patients] came to say goodbye to us personally and in more than one case tears were shed as they thanked us for the little bit of life we'd given them. We shook their hands, accepted their gifts, and sat with them listening to football on the radio. If there's anything that will make us seriously dedicate ourselves to leprosy, it will be the affection shown to us by all the sick we've met along the way.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 40 Quotes

There are 600 sick people living independently in typical jungle huts, doing whatever they choose, looking after themselves, in an organization which has developed a rhythm and style of its own. There is a local official, a judge, a policeman, etc. The respect Dr. Bresciani commands is considerable and he clearly coordinates the whole colony, both protecting and sorting out disputes that arise between the different groups.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Dr. Bresciani
Related Symbols: The Leper Colony
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 41 Quotes

We constitute a single mestizo race, which from Mexico to the Magellan Straits bears notable ethnographical similarities. And so, in an attempt to rid myself of the weight of small-minded provincialism, I propose a toast to Peru and to a United Latin America.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Leper Colony
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 45 Quotes

Littered along the edges of the road are containers for transporting cars, used by the Portuguese as dwellings. In one of these, where a black family lives, I can just glimpse a brand new refrigerator, and from many of them radios blare music which their owners play at maximum volume. New cars are parked outside the most miserable "homes."

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 46 Quotes

The terrible thing is the people need to be educated, and this they cannot do before taking power, only after. They can only learn at the cost of their own mistakes, which will be very serious and will cost many innocent lives.

Related Characters: The Stranger (speaker), Ernesto Guevara
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

I knew that when the great guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves, I would be with the people. I know this, I see it printed in the night sky that I, eclectic dissembler of doctrine and psychoanalyst of dogma, howling like one possessed, will assault the barricades or the trenches, will take my bloodstained weapon and, consumed with fury, slaughter any enemy who falls into my hands.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), The Stranger
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Motorcycle Diaries LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Motorcycle Diaries PDF

Ernesto Guevara Character Timeline in The Motorcycle Diaries

The timeline below shows where the character Ernesto Guevara appears in The Motorcycle Diaries. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Entendámonos (So We Understand Each Other)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto prefaces his narrative by noting that his story is not meant to describe heroism, nor... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Ernesto adds that his younger self, who wrote the notes that are the basis of this... (full context)
2. Pródromos (Forewarnings)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto Guevara and his friends, including Alberto Granado, are home for vacation from medical school. The... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Alberto suddenly suggests that he and Ernesto take a road trip to North America on La Poderosa, and Ernesto instantly agrees. Ernesto... (full context)
3. El Descubrimiento del Océano (Discovery of the Ocean)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
1,200 kilometers later, the men are staying with Ernesto’s uncle in northern Argentina. They sit by the sea in the moonlight, alone with their... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Ernesto explains that he is bringing a dog, named Comeback, to his girlfriend, Chichina. He describes... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Though the first 1,200 kilometers are supposedly the easiest of the journey, Ernesto and Alberto already have a sense that their trip will be difficult. The way Alberto... (full context)
4. Paréntesis Amoroso (Lovesick Pause)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Ernesto arrives in Miramar, where Chichina is spending the summer with her family in a luxurious... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Resting drowsily on the beach with his head in Chichina’s lap, Ernesto observes the formidable presence of the ocean and interprets it as a voice calling him... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Chichina makes a big fuss over his departure, which Ernesto appreciates but only takes somewhat seriously. She gives him her gold bracelet as a love... (full context)
5. Hasta Romper el Ultimo Vínculo (Until the Last Tie is Broken)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
When Ernesto and Alberto depart from these friends, they leave civilization behind as well, sleeping in the... (full context)
6. Para Las Gripes, Cama (For the Flu, Bed)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
After arriving at Choele Choel, an Argentine town, Ernesto gets the flu and has to stay in the hospital for several days. Even in... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
As soon as the doctor gives his permission, Ernesto and Alberto depart, but La Poderosa quickly suffers several breakdowns. Ernesto and Alberto have to... (full context)
7. San Martín de los Andes
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Moving onwards, Ernesto and Alberto are charmed by San Martín de los Andes, an impoverished lakeside town surrounded... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
In exchange for provisions for the next stage of the trip, Ernesto and Alberto agree to help a local man host a town barbecue. At the party,... (full context)
8. Exploración Circunvalatoria (Circular Exploration)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
In Junín de los Andes, Ernesto and Alberto run into some friends of Alberto’s, which means they have the luxury of... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto continue on to Carrué Chico, a lake surrounded by mountains. They set off... (full context)
9. Querida Vieja (Dear Mama)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto transcribes a letter to his mother in his diary, in which he addresses her affectionately... (full context)
10. Por El Camino de Los Siete Lagos (On the Seven Lakes Road)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto move onward towards the town of Barioloche. The cold is so severe that... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
...barn but warns them that many pumas have been spotted in the region lately. When Ernesto wakes up in the middle of the night to find an animal beside him in... (full context)
11. Y Ya Siento Flotar Mi Gran Raíz Libre y Desnuda… (And Now, I Feel my Great Roots Unearth, Free and…)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto are sheltering from a thunderstorm in a village police station crowded with other... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Although he at first articulates a strong sense of his emotional dependence on Chichina, Ernesto reconsiders this while trying to write a response to her letter. Upon examining his feelings,... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Even though Ernesto frets the night away, when the storm lets up and he and Alberto can start... (full context)
12. Objetos Curiosos (Objects of Curiosity)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...(Alberto’s particular area of study) is neither common nor well-known in Chile, and people assume Ernesto and Alberto are highly qualified doctors, even leprosy experts, even though they are only medical... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto capitalize on this perception, using their unexpectedly privileged status in order to gain... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Although Ernesto acknowledges that this behavior is in large part a “scam” they’ve employed to make the... (full context)
13. Los Expertos (The Experts)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto continue to enjoy what Ernesto characterizes as characteristically Chilean hospitality, which in fact... (full context)
14. Las Dificultades Aumentan (The Difficulties Intensify)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
La Poderosa breaks down twice, but this is no longer such a hindrance. Each time, Ernesto and Alberto are stranded, they quickly find help from people who recognize them as “The... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
After befriending a local mechanic who fixes the motorcycle, Ernesto and Alberto accompany him to a village dance. The mechanic asks Ernesto to keep an... (full context)
16. Bomberos Voluntarios, Hombres de Trabajo y Otras Yerbas (Firefighters, Workers and Other Matters)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Although they’re no longer enjoying the luxuries of local high society, Ernesto and Alberto stay in the Chilean town of Los Angeles and find shelter among a... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
After this escapade, Ernesto and Alberto pay for passage to Santiago by working in a moving van. Once they... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
In the meantime, Ernesto and Alberto run into some friends from their hometown who are in Santiago for a... (full context)
17. La Sonrisa de La Gioconda (La Gioconda’s Smile)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto continues to analyze the difficulties brought about by the loss of La Poderosa. Even a... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
While Alberto tries to obtain passage via boat to the leper colony at Easter Island, Ernesto meets an old woman with asthma in La Gioconda and attempts to treat her in... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Looking around the woman’s tiny, crowded apartment, and squalid living conditions, Ernesto observes that her sickness affects her whole family’s socio-economic status. Because she can’t work and... (full context)
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...they can’t go to Easter Island because there are no ships for the next year. Ernesto and Alberto have to change their plans and move towards a new destination. Rather than... (full context)
18. Polizones (Stowaways)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Although they hide for several hours, Ernesto and Alberto are eventually discovered by the sailors. The captain is furious, but eventually agrees... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Looking out on the sea, Ernesto reevaluates the path he wants his life to follow. Up to this point, he has... (full context)
19. Esta Vez, Fracaso (This Time, Disaster)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
When the ship lands, Ernesto and Alberto bid farewell to the crew. Next, they want to visit the Chuquicamata copper... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
...in “simple, expressively language” his time in prison and the plight of his starving family. Ernesto feels deeply sympathetic towards the couple, not just because of their personal struggles but because... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Seeing the mine itself, Ernesto is disgusted with the arrogance of the foreign managers, whom he describes as “blond and... (full context)
20. Chuquicamata
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto describes the layout of the Chuquicamata mine, focusing on the way it interrupts the beauty... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Ernesto pauses to note that Chile produces 20 percent of the world’s copper. Because the land... (full context)
21. Kilometraje Arido (Arid Land for Miles and Miles)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto hike into the desert outside Chuquicamata without enough water or food. Quickly realizing... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...to the next town if they participate in a soccer match during the weekend, and Ernesto and Alberto agree. (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
In the interim, Ernesto and Alberto visit the area’s nitrate-purifying plants. Ernesto remarks how easy it is, without government... (full context)
22. Acaba Chile (The End of Chile)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Hitchhiking through the stark scrublands to the northern border of Chile, Ernesto remarks that they are taking the same route as the conquistador Valdivia. To Ernesto, Valdivia’s... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
In the port town of Arica, Ernesto and Alberto find shelter in a local hospital, although the local doctor treats them with... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto leave Arica and head along the coast towards the Peruvian border, stopping periodically... (full context)
23. Chile, Ojeada de Lejos (Chile, a Vision from Afar)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Ernesto zooms out from his usual style of narration to give the reader some retrospective insight... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Finally, Ernesto notes that Chile in its current political state holds economic prospects for anyone, “so long... (full context)
24. Tarata, El Mundo Nuevo (Tarata, the New World)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
After crossing the border into Peru, Ernesto and Alberto spend a long time walking in inhospitable desert sun, unable catch a ride... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
The next day, Ernesto and Alberto obtain a ride in a truck transporting a group of Aymara Indian workers... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Arriving in the town of Tarata, Ernesto is astonished that the architecture, clothes, crops, and cultural practices have been almost perfectly conserved... (full context)
25. En Los Dominios de la Pachamama (In the Dominions of Pachamama)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto continue from Tarata in a truck with another group of Indian laborers, who... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
...the roadside hut did, the Indians in the truck ask about Argentina. Spurred by enthusiasm, Ernesto and Alberto spin unrealistic stories of “the idyllic, beautiful life in our country” and promise... (full context)
26. El Lago del Sol (Lake of the Sun)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto make a fruitless stop in Puno, where they can neither swim in the... (full context)
27. Hacia El Ombligo del Mundo (Toward the Naval of the World)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto hitchhike to Juliaca, where they meet a drunk police sergeant who takes them... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
...teasing the Indians, who in turn are too wary respond to Alberto’s attempts at conversation. Ernesto and Alberto feel sympathetic to the Indians, but their race and language mean that everyone... (full context)
28. El Ombligo (The Navel)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Imagining the rich history of Cuzco, Ernesto says there are “two or three ways the city can be summoned.” He first recounts... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto describes the tourist’s Cuzco, aesthetically pleasing with “colored-tile roofs” and “gentle uniformity,” and passes on... (full context)
29. La Tierra del Inca (The Land of the Incas)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto visits Cuzco’s ancient Inca fortress and speculates about its tactical significance as a defense for... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Leaving the center of the city, Ernesto treks along the outskirts to various sites where Incas waged battles against other indigenous peoples... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Finally, Ernesto visits Machu Picchu, noting that he agrees with Bingham (the American archaeologist who “discovered” the... (full context)
30. El Señor de Los Temblores (Our Lord of the Earthquakes)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Back in Cuzco, Ernesto witnesses a local religious celebration in which priests parade an icon of Jesus, which supposedly... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto notes the contrast between Indian spectators, dressed in traditional costumes “in expression of a culture…which... (full context)
31. El Solar del Vencedor (Homeland for the Victor)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto describes the decline of Cuzco as a powerful city: after the Spanish conquest, Cuzco became... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto describes the lavish interior of the cathedral as resembling “an old woman with too much... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Finally, Ernesto visits the Church of Belén, which was damaged in a recent earthquake, and whose bell... (full context)
32. Cuzco a Secas (Cuzco Straight)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Dr. Hermosa helps Ernesto and Alberto get “an approximate picture of Peruvian life” and procures them train tickets to... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Ernesto spends a lot of time in the archeology museum, even though it is “pretty poor”... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
...at their past and feel pride, rather than, looking at their present, feel only shame.” Ernesto says that the museum is not just a repository for articles of the past but... (full context)
33. Huambo
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
After exhausting all available hospitality in Cuzco, Ernesto and Alberto head north towards a leper colony in Huambo. While waiting for rides, they... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
A village mayor agrees to provide Ernesto and Alberto with horses for the journey to the leper colony. While they wait, they... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
An indigenous old woman and young boy accost Ernesto and Alberto as they are riding through the mountains on the horses. Because they don’t... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto procure horses for the trip back from a landowner. The landowner gives them... (full context)
34. Siempre Al Norte (Ever Northward)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto stop for a few days in the town of Andahuaylas, where Ernesto recovers... (full context)
35. Por El Centro Peruano (Through the Center of Peru)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto continue to hitchhike, becoming increasingly hungry, since they’re running out of money to... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
...an Indian of the crime and bring a photo with them, which the sergeant shows Ernesto and Alberto, saying it’s “the classic image of a murderer.” (full context)
36. Esperanza Fallida (Shattered Hopes)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Completely out of food and money, Ernesto and Alberto stop at the house of a friend’s brother-in-law and camp out there, eating... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
In order to eat, Ernesto and Alberto resort to desperate measures. In one town, they meet some drunks at a... (full context)
37. La Ciudad De Los Virreyes (The City of the Viceroys)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Arriving in Lima, Ernesto compares the city to Cuzco, saying it’s much more modern and less reminiscent of the... (full context)
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto also make the acquaintance of Dr. Hugo Pesce, a renowned leprologist who takes... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
At one point, Ernesto and Alberto go to see their first bullfight. Although Ernesto is extremely excited at the... (full context)
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
When it comes time to depart Lima, the patients at Dr. Pesce’s hospital give Ernesto and Alberto some money they’ve cobbled together and an “effusive” farewell letter. They are grateful... (full context)
38. Ucayali Abajo (Down the Ucayali)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto sail to the San Pablo Leper Colony on a small passenger boat, La... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Ernesto has some sort of sexual encounter, which he describes vaguely as a “careless caress,” with... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
The boat makes stops at a port in the city of Iquitos, and Ernesto’s asthma becomes so bad that he has to stay in the hospital for several days.... (full context)
39. Querido Papi (Dear Papi)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
This chapter is a transcript of a letter Ernesto wrote to his father while resting in the hospital at Iquitos. He mentions that the... (full context)
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Ernesto tells his father about the respect local hospitals and doctors show the “two visiting researchers.”... (full context)
40. La Colonia de San Pablo (The San Pablo Leper Colony)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
A day after arriving in San Pablo, Ernesto and Alberto finally visit the leper colony they’ve traveled so far to see. The colony... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Dr. Bresciani shows Ernesto and Alberto around the colony. He tells them about his own research, which examines patients’... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
When they aren’t touring the medical facilities, Ernesto and Alberto go fishing and play football and chess. Besides Dr. Bresciani, they befriend the... (full context)
41. El Día de San Guevara (Saint Guevara’s Day)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
During his stay at the leper colony, Ernesto turns 24. He sees this as a big milestone, because he’s been alive for almost... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
The next day, accompanied by the doctors, Ernesto and Alberto visit a local Indian tribe, the Yaguas. He notes that their way of... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
After enjoying the hospitality of the colony for a few more days, Ernesto and Alberto prepare to depart. They build a raft on which they plan to sail... (full context)
42. La Kontikita Se Revela (Debut for the Little Kontiki)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto and Alberto float down the river towards the Brazilian border, a difficult journey because the... (full context)
43. Querida Vieja (Dear Mama)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Ernesto transcribes another letter to his mother, written from Bogotá, Colombia. He gives a brief account... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Then Ernesto describes the rest of the trip on the raft. Ernesto and Alberto spend a few... (full context)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
After a few days in Leticia, Ernesto and Alberto fly to Bogotá. There, they sleep on chairs in the hospital rather than... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Because Ernesto carries a knife, he has an unpleasant altercation with the local police. He tells his... (full context)
44. Hacia Caracas (Towards Caracas)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
After dealing with various bureaucratic processes and enduring many unnecessary police searches, Ernesto and Alberto cross into Venezuela, which is more prosperous than Columbia. They hitch a ride... (full context)
45. Este Extraño Siglo Veinte (This Strange Twentieth Century)
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Ernesto acquires a French inhaler to help with his asthma but loses Alberto, with whom he... (full context)
Suppression and Reclamation of Indigenous Culture Theme Icon
Alone for the first time, Ernesto explores the outskirts of Caracas. The slums here are populated by two rival ethnic groups,... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Ernesto peeks into one of the tiny huts where a mother is cooking dinner for several... (full context)
46. Anotación al Margen (A Note in the Margin)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
Ernesto has left Caracas and is staying the night in a mountain village. He feels that... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
The stranger gives a long speech about revolution, which Ernesto transcribes verbatim onto the page. He says that while revolution is inevitable and will allow... (full context)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Ideology Theme Icon
After saying goodbye to the stranger, Ernesto experiences what he describes as a personal “revelation.” He, too, now views revolution as inevitable... (full context)