The Time of the Hero
(Spanish: La Ciudad y los Perros
, translated literally as The City and the Dogs
) is a 1963 novel. It was the first novel published by Mario Vargas Llosa
. It deals with a group of students in a military school in Lima, Perú; their relationships, their backgrounds, their lives in a school ruled by strict military rules.
The novel is noteworthy for experimenting with multiple perspectives and is required literature in Latin American countries.
This book provides examples of:
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council: The Circle.
- Abusive Parents: It's revealed at one point that The Slave has an overprotective mother and an abusive father.
- Anachronic Order
- Author Tract: Military rule promotes things like manliness, sexuality and courage but cripples other things like personal development.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: The Boa.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Slave is killed by The Jaguar in a sort of Deadly Prank combined with Disproportionate Retribution. When Gamboa tries to find out about it, he gets reassigned to Juliaca. The Jaguar eventually feels regret about what he did and tells Gamboa about it, but it's too late. Alberto (The Slave's Only Friend) decides to forget about the incident while The Jaguar marries Teresa, and he is a better person now. Time passes, people change... and life, as it always does, goes on.
- Black Comedy: Throughout the book.
- Butt Monkey: The Slave.
- Depraved Homosexual: Paulino.
- Determinator: The Jaguar.
- Five-Bad Band:
- Freudian Excuse: Because of his overprotective mother and abusive father, The Slave is socially inadept, never able to connect to others.
- Humiliation Conga: It happens to a lot of characters, usually not Played for Laughs.
- In Medias Res
- In the Back: The Slave.
- Initiation Ceremony: Happens when the boys enter the academy; the humiliating variety.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Jaguar, as shown in his point-of-view chapters.
- Also, The Slave's father was this. When his son dies, he reveals that he was abusive towards The Slave because he only wanted to tough him up a bit. It's bad, because all The Slave ever sees is his cold, harsh, abusive attitude, leading to realistic consequences.
- Karma Houdini: The Jaguar goes unpunished even after he reveals the truth to Lt. Gamboa, because the case was already close.
- Love Triangle: All three main characters are in love with Teresa, The Jaguar's childhood friend. She never really acknowledges The Slave's existence and fells in love with Alberto instead. After The Slave's death, Alberto feels guilty about it and breaks up with her, never telling her why. In the epilogue, Teresa is Happily Married to The Jaguar.
- Military School
- Only Friend: Alberto is this to The Slave.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Poet, the Jaguar, the Slave, the Boa and others.
- Pick on Someone Your Own Size
- Prison Rape: In a military academy.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Lt. Gamboa is reassigned to Juliaca (for those who don’t know, it’s only a few miles from the Titicaca Lake, shared with Bolivia).
- The Reveal
- Sadist Teacher: Blended with Drill Sergeant Nasty.
- The Spartan Way
- The Stool Pigeon: The Slave, who only snitches because he wants to get out of the academy to see the girl he likes. After his death, Alberto decides to rat out the Circle.
- Teens Are Monsters
- Those Two Guys: Tico and Pluto.
- Victorious Childhood Friends: The Jaguar and Teresa, in the end.
- Write What You Know: Vargas Llosa spent a couple of years in the academy in his youth.