Through the novel Alencar tries to remake the history of the Brazilian colonial state of Ceará's origins, with Moacir, the son of Iracema and Martim, as the first true Brazilian in Ceará. This pure Brazilian is born from the love of the natural, innocence (Iracema) and culture and knowledge (Martim), and also represents the mixture (miscegenation) of the native race with the European race to produce a new (Brazilian) race.
Iracema, alongside with the other novels O Guarani and Ubirajara portrays one of the stages of the formation of the Brazilian ethnical and cultural heritage. Iracema symbolizes the initial meeting between the white man (Europeans) and the natives. Iracema is an anagram which means "America", this is believed to be the author's reference to how Martim (the European) conquered Iracema (or America). "Moacir" means "Son of Pain", what is related to his birth, alone with his mother, who was abandoned by Martim for some time as he had to go and help the Potiguaras in a tribal war against the Tabajaras.