A young girl who is friends with the narrator of “My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn.” As the title makes clear, one of Lucy’s most defining traits is that she smells like corn, specifically… read analysis of Lucy Anguiano
The Lucy Narrator
A girl who describes Lucy Anguiano to readers in “My Lucy Friend Who Smells like Corn.” As the narrator talks about her friend, it becomes clear that she covets Lucy, a sentiment confirmed by her… read analysis of The Lucy Narrator
The narrator of “Eleven.” Rachel outlines her theory about growing older, insisting that a younger age can sometimes creep up and take over a person’s behavior. This happens to her on her eleventh birthday, when… read analysis of Rachel
A teacher in “Eleven” who thinks that a disgusting old sweater found in her classroom belongs to Rachel. Despite Rachel’s protests, she urges the young girl to wear the sweater. This implies that Mrs… read analysis of Mrs. Price
A young boy with “crooked hair and crooked teeth” in the story “Salvador Late or Early.” Salvador’s teacher frequently forgets his name, and none of the other children are his friends. Regardless of his social… read analysis of Salvador
The Movies Narrator
The narrator of “Mexican Movies,” a boy or girl (the gender remains unidentified in the story) who likes going to the cinema because doing so provides an opportunity to roam the lobby. When the characters… read analysis of The Movies Narrator
The Barbie-Q Narrator
The narrator of “Barbie-Q,” a young girl who enjoys playing with Barbie dolls with her friend. The narrator and the Barbie-Q narrator’s friend each own one Barbie and wish they could afford to buy more… read analysis of The Barbie-Q Narrator
The narrator of “Mericans.” Micaela is a tolerant young girl who puts up with her brothers, Junior and Keeks, as they horseplay outside the church where they’re all waiting for their grandmother, whom Micaela… read analysis of Micaela (Michele)
Micaela’s older brother in “Mericans,” who waits with her and Keeks as their “awful” grandmother prays in church. At the end of the story, a foreign couple approaches Junior and asks in Spanish to… read analysis of Junior
Micaela’s younger brother in “Mericans,” who is full of energy while he waits with her and Junior for his “awful” grandmother to emerge from church. To pass the time, Keeks pretends he’s a fighter… read analysis of Keeks
The Awful Grandmother
An old woman who makes her grandchildren Micaela, Junior, and Keeks wait outside while she goes to church (in “Mericans”). Inside, she prays for all of her family members who aren’t pious enough… read analysis of The Awful Grandmother
The Foreign Couple
Two foreigners who come upon Micaela, Junior, and Keeks as they wait for their “awful” grandmother just outside the church (in “Mericans”). The foreign couple asks Junior if they can take his picture… read analysis of The Foreign Couple
The Tepeyac Narrator
The narrator of “Tepeyac,” an unnamed person who describes the small store his Abuelito (grandfather) owns by the Hill of Tepeyac, a religious destination where it is believed by Catholics that Saint Juan Diego saw… read analysis of The Tepeyac Narrator
The protagonist of “One Holy Night,” an eighth grade girl who falls in love with an older man who calls himself Boy Baby and claims to be the descendant of Mayan kings. Though her Abuelita… read analysis of Ixchel
Chaq Uxmal Paloquín (“Boy Baby”)
A man in “One Holy Night” who claims to be the descendant of Mayan kings, though this is a lie. Boy Baby seduces Ixchel even though he’s 37 and she’s only in eighth grade. He… read analysis of Chaq Uxmal Paloquín (“Boy Baby”)
Ixchel’s strict grandmother in “One Holy Night.” Abuelita blames her son, Uncle Lalo, for Ixchel’s pregnancy, since Uncle Lalo should be the one working the family pushcart, not young Ixchel. Abuelita is protective… read analysis of Abuelita
Patricia (the Tocaya narrator)
The narrator of “My Tocaya,” who shares the same name as Patricia Bernadette Benavídez, or “Trish.” Highly critical of Trish, the narrator is prone to making callous remarks, even daring to say that she… read analysis of Patricia (the Tocaya narrator)
Patricia Bernadette Benavídez (Trish)
A girl in “My Tocaya” who has skipped several grades in school and works for her father at Father & Son’s Taco Palace No. 2. Trish wears “glitter high heels” to school, a choice the… read analysis of Patricia Bernadette Benavídez (Trish)
Max Lucas Luna Luna
Trish’s neighbor in “My Tocaya.” Max is friends with Ralphie Benavídez, Trish’s brother, and develops a crush on the narrator. As a result, Trish acts as an intermediary between the Tocaya narrator and… read analysis of Max Lucas Luna Luna
The owner of Father & Son’s Taco Palace No. 2, where he employs Trish, his daughter, in “My Tocaya.” The Tocaya narrator states that Trish’s father used to beat her brother—who quit his job… read analysis of Trish’s Father
Cleófilas Enriqueta DeLeón Hernández
The protagonist of “Woman Hollering Creek,” a woman who marries Juan Pedro and moves with him from Mexico to the United States despite her father’s misgivings. Cleófilas yearns for passion, but when she starts her… read analysis of Cleófilas Enriqueta DeLeón Hernández
Juan Pedro Martínez Sánchez
Cléofilas’s husband in “Woman Hollering Creek.” Juan Pedro is a heavy drinker and an abusive husband, though Cleófilas strives to see the positive in him. Despite her efforts, though, he proves himself to be… read analysis of Juan Pedro Martínez Sánchez
Cléofilas’s father in “Woman Hollering Creek,” who immediately intuits that her marriage to Juan Pedro will only end in despair. When Juan Pedro asks Don Serafín for his daughter’s hand, he predicts that Cleófilas… read analysis of Don Serafín
A nurse or doctor (her title is never specified) in “Woman Hollering Creek” who sees Cleófilas for a pregnancy checkup. During this appointment, she sees Cleófilas’s many bruises—left on her body by Juan Pedro—and… read analysis of Graciela
Graciela’s colleague in “Woman Hollering Creek,” and the woman who drives Cleófilas and Juan Pedrito safely to San Antonio so that they can board a bus bound for Mexico and thereby escape the abusive… read analysis of Felice
One of Cleófilas’s elderly neighbors in “Woman Hollering Creek.” Soledad calls herself a widow, but nobody is sure whether her husband is absent because he died or because he ran away with an “ice-house… read analysis of Soledad
One of Cleófilas’s elderly neighbors in “Woman Hollering Creek.” Dolores is a widow and burns too much incense on the little religious altars she has set up around her house, which she has constructed… read analysis of Dolores
The First Speaker
An unidentified person of unspecified gender in “The Marlboro Man,” who speaks with her friend (the second speaker) about the Marlboro Man, upholding that her other friend, Romelia, used to live with… read analysis of The First Speaker
The Second Speaker
An unidentified person of unspecified gender in “The Marlboro Man,” who speaks with her friend, the first speaker, about the Marlboro Man. The second speaker tells her friend about how she saw a special… read analysis of The Second Speaker
A friend of the first speaker in “The Marlboro Man.” Romelia used to live with a man the first speaker claims was the Marlboro Man, though at the end of the conversation it becomes clear… read analysis of Romelia
The Fabulosa Narrator
The narrator of “La Fabulosa: A Texas Operetta,” an unnamed person of unspecified gender who tells the story of Carmen Berriozábal. At the end of the piece, the narrator mentions that she saw Carmen… read analysis of The Fabulosa Narrator
A woman in “La Fabulosa: A Texas Operetta” who likes to call herself “Spanish” even though she’s from Laredo, Texas. Because Carmen has very large breasts, men rarely make eye contact when talking to her… read analysis of Carmen Berriozábal
A handsome young corporal in “La Fabulosa: A Texas Operetta” who dates Carmen in San Antonio, even though he has a high school sweetheart waiting for him in his hometown. José reveals himself as a… read analysis of José
Camilo Escamilla (The Texas Senator)
A famous Texan senator who dates Carmen in “La Fabulosa: A Texas Operetta.” Camilo pays for Carmen to stay in an expensive condominium, and when José tries to kill her, he makes sure the newspapers… read analysis of Camilo Escamilla (The Texas Senator)
The narrator of “Remember the Alamo,” a dancer and performer whose stage name is Tristán. Initially, Rudy uses first-person narration, but he quickly slips into third-person narration to describe Tristán’s act to readers. This is… read analysis of Rudy (Tristán)
The protagonist of “Never Marry a Mexican,” a woman whose Mexican-American mother tells her to never marry a Mexican man. Clemencia takes this advice to heart, even declaring that she’ll never marry any man because… read analysis of Clemencia
Clemencia’s lover in “Never Marry a Mexican.” Drew is a white man with a wife named Megan, with whom he has a son. Nonetheless, Drew can’t keep himself away from Clemencia, who takes… read analysis of Drew
Drew’s wife in “Never Marry a Mexican,” and the mother of his son. When Megan runs into Clemencia for the first time in an art gallery, Drew introduces them by saying, “This is… read analysis of Megan
A Mexican-American woman in “Never Marry a Mexican” who warns Clemencia against ever marrying a Mexican man. She herself married a Mexican man at a young age, and when he died, she married a white… read analysis of Clemencia’s Mother
The Bread Narrator
The narrator of “Bread,” a woman who drives around with her Italian lover one day, enjoying his company and sharing large loaves of bread with him with him while winding through the city. The narrator… read analysis of The Bread Narrator
The narrator or “Eyes of Zapata.” Inés is in love with Emiliano Zapata, a leader of the Mexican Revolution with whom she has two children, Nicolás and Malena. As she watches Emiliano sleep… read analysis of Inés Alfaro
A historical leader of the Mexican Revolution, and a character in “Eyes of Zapata.” Emiliano Zapata believed that farmers and other peasants had the right to own and rule the land, and he fought against… read analysis of Emiliano Zapata
Inés’s father in “Eyes of Zapata,” who dislikes Emiliano because of his renegade politics and revolutionary character. Inés thinks that Remigio and Emiliano are such “perfect enemies” because they’re so similar to one another… read analysis of Remigio Alfaro
The Anguiano Narrator
The narrator of “Anguiano Religious Articles Rosaries Statues Medals Incense Candles Talismans Perfumes Oils Herbs,” a woman hoping to buy a statue or holographic picture of the Virgen de Guadalupe from a religious store. The… read analysis of The Anguiano Narrator
The Girl Who Cut Her Hair
A girl in “Little Miracles, Kept Promises” who writes a letter to the Virgen de Guadalupe and leaves it on an altar. Thanking the Virgen for helping her avoid a pregnancy, she describes her transformation… read analysis of The Girl Who Cut Her Hair
The Boxers Narrator
The narrator of “Los Boxers,” a man who talks to a woman and her child in a Laundromat. The narrator is good-natured but lonely and prone to rambling. Fond of mentioning his dead wife, he… read analysis of The Boxers Narrator
A character in “There Was a Man, There Was a Woman,” an unnamed man who goes to the Friendly Spot Bar every payday and drinks with the hopes of summoning the words to describe how… read analysis of A Man
A character in “There Was a Man, There Was a Woman,” an unnamed woman who goes to the Friendly Spot Bar every payday and drinks with the hopes of summoning the words to describe how… read analysis of A Woman
Flavio Munguía Galindo (“Rogelio Velasco”)
A character in “Tin Tan Tan” and “Bien Pretty.” A Mexican man living in Texas, Flavio writes poems using the pen name “Rogelio Velasco.” Proud of his Mexican heritage, he disparages his girlfriend Lupita for… read analysis of Flavio Munguía Galindo (“Rogelio Velasco”)
A character in “Tin Tan Tan” and “Bien Pretty,” an American woman of Mexican heritage who moves from Northern California to Texas to work as an art director. Lupita is interested in New Age spirituality… read analysis of Lupita
A woman who works at a Mexican supermarket in “Bien Pretty.” Roughly the same age as Lupita, the cashier looks much older despite her makeup. After telling Lupita that she likes her shawl, the… read analysis of The Cashier
A girl whom Lucy and the Lucy narrator tease in “My Lucy Friend Who Smells like Corn.” Janey lives nearby, and the two other girls make a special trip to her house just to taunt her by saying that they’ll never be her friend again.
A student in Mrs. Price’s class who claims a ratty old sweater belongs to Rachel (in the story “Eleven”). Because of this assertion, Rachel privately refers to Sylvia as “stupid.”
The Movies narrator’s younger brother in “Mexican Movies.” Kiki is rambunctious and enjoys running up and down the halls of the cinema, throwing popcorn into the air and buying treats in the lobby during sexually explicit scenes.
The Barbie-Q Narrator’s Friend
A young girl who plays with the Barbie-Q narrator and shares her interest in Barbie dolls. Like the narrator, the narrator’s friend is never actually assigned a gender in the story.
The “Tepeyac” narrator’s grandfather, who owns a store in Tepeyac.
The “Tepeyac” narrator’s grandmother, who lives with Abuelito in an apartment the narrator visits many years later only to discover he doesn’t know the people living inside anymore.
Ixchel’s uncle and Abuelita’s son in “One Holy Night.” Abuelita blames Uncle Lalo for Ixchel’s pregnancy, arguing that such a thing never would have happened if he were working the cucumber pushcart like he’s supposed to, instead of coming home late and letting his niece shoulder the responsibility.
Rachel (One Holy Night)
Ixchel’s friend in “One Holy Night,” and one of only two people—along with Lourdes—who knows about her pregnancy. Rachel tells Ixchel that love is like somebody pushing a piano from the top of a building and asking another person to catch it.
Ixchel’s friend, and one of only two people—along with Rachel—who knows about her pregnancy. Lourdes upholds that love is like a top that is spinning so fast that its colors blend together to create a “white hum.”
Cleófilas and Juan Pedro’s son in “Woman Hollering Creek,” who is born in Texas. Juan Pedrito travels with his mother from Texas to Mexico as they escape his abusive father.
King Kong Cárdenas
A professional wrestler in “La Fabulosa: A Texas Operetta” who the Fabulosa narrator describes as a “sweetie.” Carmen runs off with King Kong, escaping both José and Camilo Escamilla.
Drew’s son in “Never Marry a Mexican,” a boy whose name is never mentioned. When he’s a senior in high school, Drew’s son sleeps with Clemencia.
A Mexican man in “Never Marry a Mexican” who married Clemencia’s mother when she was only 17. When Clemencia’s father dies, she is extremely upset and can’t forgive her mother for quickly running off with a new lover.
Clemencia’s sister in “Never Marry a Mexican,” with whom she lives when she first leaves home.
The Bread Narrator’s Italian Lover
An Italian man in “Bread” who passes the day eating bread and laughing with the Bread narrator. The narrator’s lover teaches her phrases in Italian and talks about the buildings as they pass outside the car’s window.
Inés and Emiliano’s son in “Eyes of Zapata.” When Nicolás loses his first tooth, his father fetches him and brings him to battle, only to bring him back to Inés after a close call that puts his life in danger.
Inés and Emiliano’s daughter in “Eyes of Zapata.” Like all the women in Inés’s family, Malena has special powers that allow her to see things other people are unable to see—this is a skill Inés teaches her daughter, just as Inés’s mother taught her.
A character in “Eyes of Zapata,” a woman who is raped and killed by her neighbors after Inés—her daughter—causes a hailstorm as a child that ruins the town’s crops. In one of her visions, Inés sees her mother’s eyes as they fix upon the sky during her terrible death.
Inés’s aunt in “Eyes of Zapata.” When Inés’s mother dies, Remigio takes her go to live with Tía Chucha, who slowly takes on the role of Inés’s mother.
Emiliano’s true wife in “Eyes of Zapata.” Though María has two children with Emiliano, they both die before ceasing to breastfeed. During one of her flights through the night sky, Inés sees María Josefa and Emiliano sleeping side by side—an image that strikes her to her core.
The owner of Anguiano Religious Articles, a store that sells relics and statues of various saints. Anguiano is a “crab ass” who insults the Anguiano narrator by suggesting that she doesn’t have enough money to buy anything in his store.
Lupita’s best friend in “Bien Pretty,” who lives in California and thinks Lupita is crazy for moving to Texas, where she insists people still lynch Mexicans.