46 pages 1 hour read

Nilo Cruz

Anna In The Tropics

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 2003

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Symbols & Motifs

The Lector

The lector symbolizes the beauty of the old traditions and the past. Juan Julian is handsome and well-dressed, a suitable embodiment of the old-world idealism that gives Ofelia and Santiago the optimism and courage to carry on with their Cuban methods of pursuing the American dream. The lector also brings a tradition of education with him, as the lector was also valued as an informal teacher, reading out loud passages from literature that workers can carry with them in their memories. Thanks to the lector, workers don’t have to be literate to feel educated and to learn about life and love from the greatest writers, and this tradition is one that Ofelia in particular values, which is why she paid Juan Julian’s way to Florida herself.


Cockfighting is a symbol of competitive masculinity, the kind that damages relationships, much like the cocks damage each other. At the start of the play, Santiago and Cheché drink and gamble illegally, and their dynamic is not exactly a friendly and generous one; Cheché is reluctant to loan Santiago money, though they are half-brothers who work together at the same family business.