Did we forget to mention that there's a superhero in this tale? Because there kind of is: Mamá is the super woman of The Circuit. She's married to Papá, and by the end of the book she's got six kiddos—plus she works all day from dawn to dusk. No really. Check this out:
To make ends meet, Mamá cooked for twenty farm workers who lived in Tent City. She made their lunches and had supper ready for them when they returned from picking strawberries at the end of the day. She would get up at four o'clock every morning, seven days a week, to make the tortillas for both meals. […] Around three o'clock she would start cooking dinner, which was served from six to seven. […] On Saturdays, she did all of the grocery shopping for the week. (4.4)
That's super impressive, right? Mamá is one of the hardest working characters in this book. She's got a full schedule all day every day whether it's cooking for the workers or taking care of her family, and she spends tons of time working in the fields picking crops too. And we never hear her complain. Not once.
The other thing that makes Mamá seriously awesome is her wisdom. Francisco and the whole family go through lots of struggles, and Mamá helps them all to gain some perspective. So when Rorra takes Francisco's pennies, she's right there with a story to make Francisco feel better, and when his note pad burns up, she helps him see the bright side. Now that's one smarty-pants lady.
Mamá plays a super central role in her family, doing everything she can to provide for her children and help them lead happy lives. Call her what you will—their rock, the family's spine, or just plain super woman—but one thing's certain: she's one seriously awesome lady.