Pancha, the first woman raped by Esteban Trueba at Tres Marías, never lets her grandson forget the indignity that was done to her, and to him, by the patrón. She names her son after her aggressor, and passes her hatred down from generation to generation.
Esteban García is the product of Esteban Trueba's acts of cruelty and neglect towards the people on his plantation, as well as his grandmother's thirst for vengeance. Combined, these two forces produce a dangerous and twisted young man who shadows Esteban Trueba and his descendents throughout the novel. He twice threatens to molest Alba while she's still a child, and Alba's fear of him takes on the heaviness of a premonition. At the end of the novel, it's Esteban García who personifies the cruelty of the military regime as a whole, and it's he who rapes and tortures Alba.
Alba's forgiveness of Esteban García marks her as different from Pancha García – Alba, though possibly pregnant with Esteban García's daughter, will not give in to the temptation of passing down a desire for vengeance to future generations.