The Motorcycle Diaries

by

Ernesto Che Guevara

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Old Woman with Asthma Character Analysis

Ernesto meets this woman in a tavern and attempts to treat her asthma, but he can’t do much for her. Because she can’t afford to buy medicine or obtain regular healthcare, her disease has spiraled out of control and prevents her from working. Her inability to contribute wages helps keep her family trapped in poverty, which in turn makes them resent her as a burden. The tragedy of her circumstances helps Ernesto realize how inadequate healthcare for the poor is, and that public health is closely linked to political issues like poverty.

Old Woman with Asthma Quotes in The Motorcycle Diaries

The The Motorcycle Diaries quotes below are all either spoken by Old Woman with Asthma or refer to Old Woman with Asthma . 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 17 Quotes

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:
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Old Woman with Asthma Character Timeline in The Motorcycle Diaries

The timeline below shows where the character Old Woman with Asthma appears in The Motorcycle Diaries. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
17. La Sonrisa de La Gioconda (La Gioconda’s Smile)
Class Consciousness Theme Icon
Medicine, Politics, and Helping Others Theme Icon
...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 her home. Although asthma... (full context)