Baltasar and Blimunda

Who is Marta Maria from Baltasar and Blimunda and what is their importance?

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Marta Maria is Baltasar's mother, a simple peasant woman who is married to Joao Francisco and lives on their smallholding in the village of Mafra.

Marta Maria is encountered in the book when Baltasar takes his new wife Blimunda back to Mafra to start their life afresh, and Marta Maria is instantly suspicious of the young girl with her strange ways. Never uncivil or unkind, Marta Maria is merely a woman of her time and station, god-fearing and honest if somewhat small-minded. During the course of the novel she accepts the couple into her house as they try to make their way in the world, before herself dying of what we can assume is a tumour