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Category Archives: 2 Rodoreda

2.7 The Time of the Doves (Ch. 43-49)

By Yosálida C. Rivero-Zaritzky

SUMMARY:
Several years pass and Rita is now considering a career. While the couple talks about it, Antoni tells Natalia how happy he has been since she and her children came into his life all those years past. As Natalia grows old, sometimes she confuses dreams and reality, events that truly happened and those that she imagined. The story of the doves reappears in a different light and is retold by other ladies she talks to during her walks to the parks. She is still somehow nervous about being on busy streets, but she is able to navigate the streets and enjoy her walks by examining details that would go unnoticed by other people.
Natalia and Antoni also talk to Toni about a profession, but to their surprise, he wants to help with the store and be a grocer. He says he is a practical person, and later on he will decide to serve in the army in Barcelona close to his house.
Rita’s future is once again the center of discussion when Vincenc, the owner of the corner bar, comes to the house to ask for her hand in marriage. But Rita does not seem interested in the idea because she wants to see the world before she commits to starting a family. Vincenc’s perseverance wins over the family and then Rita. After a conflicted courtship, she marries him. Their wedding coincides with Natalia and Antoni’s wedding anniversary, and they celebrate it together.

Natalia wakes up early in the morning and decides to leave the house for a walk. Afterwards, she feels she has expelled something that has been drowning her for years and she can breathe and she can actually begin to experience happiness.

 

PERSONAL RESPONSE:
Memory plays an important part in this last section. Natalia still is trying to make sense of her life. For many years she was unable to do so. Thinking about certain things was simply too painful; remembering was even worse. She needed to survive and, in order to do so, she had to repress memories and channel her efforts to keep her family alive. There are two moments in the novel when her gaze has a special meaning. The first time is when she is walking to the grocery to buy the acid to kill herself and her children and she looks at her surroundings as if she is noticing them for the first and last time, trying to absorb everything and then take it with her. The second time is in chapter 43 when she gives descriptions of interior parts of different houses–spaces commonly identified with the feminine world. In a certain respect, she is trying to get at the heart of each intimate space, a metaphor of her own heart.
I am curious to know what you have to say about the part when Vincenc asks for Rita’s hand in marriage, so please answer that question below. Afterwards I may make additional comments. I should also make a cultural clarification. A bar in Spain is not the same as it is here in the United States. In Spain a bar is pretty much a restaurant where families can go at any time of the day or night–yes, children go there too. On the other hand, in Latin America working in a bar is often considered a job of ill repute.
My favorite passage in this part is when Natalia makes this insight about the nature of time: “the time inside me, the time you can’t see but it molds us. The time that rolls on and on in people’s hearts and makes them roll along with it and gradually changes us inside and out and makes us what we’ll be on our dying day.” (183-84) When we are young, we think little about such things, but as we gain “experience” it’s easier to look back and see how much we have changed and how we have become who we now are.
I hope you have enjoyed this book. I have to say that the first time I read it I thought it was ok, but with time I gained a greater appreciation for it. This time, for instance, I laughed out loud at some parts, and cried at others, maybe because I now have children of my own and I could not imagine having to suffer similar situations. When I went to Barcelona last summer I wanted to visit the places Rodoreda mentions in her novel. I could not make it to all of them, but as I was getting to know some of those places, the book came alive for me.

 
26 Comments

Posted by on July 11, 2013 in 2 Rodoreda

 

2.6 The Time of the Doves (Ch. 36-42)

By Tiffany Wright

SUMMARY:
The beginning of this section, Natalia is dealing with being without work and a husband.  Natalia feels she is left alone to starve to death with her children. She speaks of how people are begging or digging through trash in order to survive.  The whole town is suffering because of the war.  Stores that once boomed are no longer in business.  Natalia seems depressed and without answers on how to survive any longer.  She is still thinking about her plot to kill the children with hydrochloric acid and a funnel.  Then she would drink some herself to die as well.   She later gets a job from the grocer that she used to buy birdseeds.  The grocer’s name is Antoni just like her son. He told her how’d he remember her the first time she came to the store to get the birdseeds. He remembered Quimet waiting outside for her while she came in to buy the birdseeds.
The grocer waits after a little over a year before he works up enough nerve to ask Natalia over one Sunday afternoon.  He explains to Natalia how’d the war claimed his manhood. Therefore, he could not produce any children of his own, but he still wanted a family and someone to leave his belongings to inherit.  At first, Natalia does not answer Antoni the grocer. Senyora Enriqueta assumes her role as mother again as Natalia makes another big decision in her new life.  She explains to Natalia that this would be good idea and she understood why Antoni the grocer would ask her and not someone without children.  Natalia remarries and moves with her two children. The two children are able to go to school. They experience their first Communion. The son likes the grocer very much. Natalia experiences high and low points throughout this section. Rita is growing up to be more like her father Quimet. It is the first time since Rita told Antoni that Quimet was dead that Rita actually speaks about Quimet.  Natalia starts experiencing life outside again by the end of this section.

 

PERSONAL RESPONSE:
There is hope even in despair. In the beginning Natalia thinks her life out her apartment building is like going to hell. The man going through the trash she watched, she felt he had more strength than her to even be looking through the trashcans. The woman who stood outside the church begging for money had the right idea for survival, for Natalia even thought about giving that a try.  After contemplating all of that, she decided to attempt to steal.  However, it was like God looked at the heart and said enough is enough, and the grocer gave her a job and food.  This reminded me of when the prophet from the Bible asked this women who was preparing a cake so that she and her child could die, to make him one first. This was a hard thing because that small amount of meal was all she had left. Therefore, Natalia went to steal what would be her last resort and God decided a different fate for her. Even after the grocer Antoni asked her to marry him, it was like she was afraid to be really happy.  She allowed what her daughter, Rita, said to get her thinking that she was unfaithful to Quimet because maybe he was coming back and she had not waited long enough for him.  Even towards the end of this section Natalia is overwhelmed with notions of unpleasantness that she remains unhappy for more than two, three, or more or less years because of her thoughts of Quimet.  Seems like even from the grave he is controlling her happiness, her life.  However, at the end of this section Natalia is revisiting the parks like she would do before the hard life came upon her.

 
21 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2013 in 2 Rodoreda

 

2.5 The Time of the Doves (Ch. 29-35)

By Niyati Patel

SUMMARY:
Starting chapter 29 Quimet has left and Cintet shows up at Natalia’s place with a big basket of oranges, powdered milk, and package of coffee. Natalia and Cintet talk while making coffee for him. While, having the conversation Natalia is surprised of how cintet had changed. They talk about Mateu, the doves and when he leaves he tells Natalia that when they won he would paint one of the dove rooms pink.
One morning while Natalia was on her way to work she met Julieta. They talked a little and Natalia learned about how the pastry shop owner was taken to the outskirts and killed during the first days of the revolution. Julieta and Natalia decided to meet up on Sunday to talk some more. On Sunday Julieta could not stop talking about her boyfriend in the army and how scared she was that he would be killed. She talked about the night they spent together of an abandoned home. How at the end of their time together she took one of the gowns so that it would provide her a memory of when she was lonely. Natalia wished she had a night like Julieta and it made her sad but Julieta cheered her up. When Natalia told Senyora Enriqueta about Julieta’s story she was angry and said that girls in the revolution do not have any shame.
One night when the bombers came Natalia’s father dies because he gets scared and had a heart attack. Her stepmother comes to ask about some money to help out with the funeral. When the wife left Natalia had a memory of her father and felt like she loved him in that moment. Natalia watched over her father’s body for only two hours because she had to wake up early the next day. She never saw her stepmother ever again.
One Sunday Quimet came back and told Natalia he had tuberculosis and he couldn’t be cured because of once you got it you got it for life (132). Quimet stayed for 3 days and the whole 3 days he would not stop talking about how there was no place like home and that he would never leave his home after the was has ended. There was less and less food so Natalia made the decision of sending the Antoni to a camp so that at least he could be fed. At the camp while Natalia is talking to the teacher, the teacher says that Antoni may not fit in with the crowd of boys because of his looks. Antoni really didn’t want to stay at the camp, he cried and screamed not to leave him and Rita started asking for her brother while Natalia was being strong willed. They finally left Antoni at the camp and Julieta says that she could have never done it. Senyora Enriqueta went every Sunday while Natalia never went because she didn’t have time. One day a militiaman came to inform her that Quimet and Cintet had died. She went to the roof so she could breath and found one of the doves dead.
Natalia has become a cork by making her heart like a stone because she didn’t want to feel the pain. Natalia wanted to believe that Quimet was at war and would come back and so would Cintet. She dressed in all black because she hadn’t done it for her father. Griselda came to visit and Natalia was told that she and Mateu were still friends, even though they lived separately, just for the girls. When it was time for Antoni to come home he was changes boy. He had gotten big and chubby; his head was shaved with scabs. Antoni didn’t even look toward his mother but went straight to his toys. They still had little to eat and they all slept together so if they were to die at least they die together. During winter the army started taking 16 years old boys. Natalia got to the point when she had to sell everything and she could barely buy food because she had no money and because there was no food to buy. Senyora Enriqueta comes to deliver the news of Mateu’s death and Natalia felt as if her soul had died in her heart (142).
Natalia, after she had nothing left so she went to her old bosses place to ask for a job. However, found out that hey were not hiring. One night while Rita and Antoni were sleeping she decides to kill them. She plans on killing them with Hydrochloric acid but doesn’t have the money to buy it. She one day goes walking and starts following fat lady because she liked her shawl fluttering in the breeze. Soon it started raining and she was drenched. While following the lady Natalia met Quimet’s old apprentice. The women went into a church and Natalia followed. She experienced something strange and when she saw the women’s eyes she fled to her home because she was scared.

 

PERSONAL RESPONSE:
In this section you see Natalia’s life getting worse because all her loved ones are dying and she is alone. First her father dies and she realizes that she loved him when she was a little girl and once her mother died her father died a little as well. I feel that if was weird how her fathers wife came to ask her if she wanted to help pay for the funeral and that’s all and after the funeral Natalia never her step mother ever. Another thing I found was unusual was that Natalia only stayed at her fathers place for only 2 hours and had an excuse of how she had to work early because if my father had died I would have stayed at my fathers place longer to mourn. Then her husband and Cintet die in the war and that makes her independent in the way that she gets to make all the decision for her family now on and she is the man of the family. Her status becomes so bad that she has to sell everything she owns and she has to send her son Antoni to a refugee camp so that he can have at least have food to eat. When she hears about Manteu’s death that was a breaking point for Natalia. Her situation had gotten so bad that she decides to kill herself and her children with Hydrochloric acid that she cannot afford. Even though that Natalia is thinking about killing and committed suicide I feel she is really strong because if I were put in that situation those thoughts would have came to me sooner. Only a strong person would be able to carry on that long like Natalia did.

 
23 Comments

Posted by on July 9, 2013 in 2 Rodoreda

 

2.4 The Time of the Doves (Ch. 22-28)

By Ethan Parrish

SUMMARY:
At the beginning of this section we find Natalia being driven crazy by the doves and after consulting with her friend Senyora Enriqueta, she is told that she has no character, as she has not put an end to the madness yet. Quimet’s mother comes to see the doves as it is all that the children talk about these days and has a fit of dizzy spells that preclude her death just a week later. The wake is at her home with the flowerless wreath that she requested and everything as she planned because as her three friends say she had been planning for the end for quite some time. Also, during this moment one of her friends tells Quimet that his mother loved him very much, but always wanted a little girl; strangely, Quimet acknowledges this and says that his mother dressed him as a girl when he was young.
Cintet and Quimet become obsessed with joining the street patrols and will speak of nothing else. Shortly after, Mateu comes to visit and tells Natalia that Griselda has begun work as a typist and taken his daughter to live with her parents. He begins to cry and tell her that she is like a sister to him and he does not know what he will do without his family because they are all he lived for. This encounter causes her to forget her worries for a time.
The following day she drops a glass at her bosses’ house and even though it was already chipped they make her pay for it. On her way home the children start to cry and she cries because she is so tired of everything, however when Quimet arrives home he becomes angry and threatens to punish the children for crying. This is the last straw for Natalia and she decides she has had it with the doves and goes about making sure the eggs will not hatch by shaking them hard and hoping there is a baby bird inside that will die. At this point she begins having nightmares that something is pulling her insides out through her belly button and she does not sleep well.
The war starts and resources become hard to find. Her bosses don’t understand why they can’t get the milk they want among other things. The militiamen threaten her bosses several times, but do not harm them. One day they tell her they can’t pay her anymore, but she can come visit anytime and that is isn’t anything against her, but her husband is involved with the rabble-rousers and they don’t want to be involved with that sort.
Shortly after she sees Quimet and Cintet come home from the front for a short time and tell of how they rescued a priest by smuggling him over the border. After they leave Mateu shows up wearing a uniform saying that he didn’t have anything to live for without his wife and child, which we learned from Quimet was dating a “big-shot”, and asks Natalia for something to remember her by. She gives him a ribbon and asks him if Quimet ever knew a girl named Maria and Mateu says that he is sure that Quimet has never known a Maria.
Quimet comes home just when Natalia thinks she will never see him again and takes two mattresses with him. The grocer downstairs give him rope and sacks and said if he was younger he would be fighting with him because war was such a pleasure these days, but it would be over soon.


PERSONAL RESPONSE:
In the start of this section I continue to find an issue with Natalia’s lack of strength to stand up for herself. She is being driven crazy by Quimet’s project yet she stays silent and does not mention it to him. When Quimet’s mother visits and tells of how her son never visits anymore it seems to me that she feels replaced by the doves and dies shortly thereafter.
With Mateu’s break down over his wife leaving him, you see Natalia realize that she is not the only one with problems and it eases her mind for a time. However, it is frustrating that Quimet has moved on to fixating on street patrols and leaving her with the doves. He jumps from interest to interest and leaves others to pick up the pieces.
Natalia’s bosses talk of money and you can infer they are of wealth or were at some point, but I think it is strange that they make her pay for the glass. If they were as wealthy as they would have you think then shouldn’t one glass be a small expense for them. This day is when Natalia has a mental breakdown and cries with the children and then attacks the doves due to Quimet’s lack of tact with the situation. She has had all of her feelings bottled up for so long that she becomes very morbid when thinking about killing the baby doves in their eggs. She could have put her foot down and told Quimet to get rid of them, but again she doesn’t speak to him.
When the war starts and her bosses fire her due to her husband’s ties to the Republican party I feel it is a clear image of the times. Simply due to a party affiliation people were killing one another or to a less extreme they were refusing to talk to them. Shortly after Quimet and Cintet come home telling of saving a priest, which is one good deed that Quimet has done in the entirety of the novel and shows that maybe he will change now that he is fighting for his life for a cause that he supports. Mateu comes to the apartment after they leave and is ready for war as well and you can tell the large impact his wife leaving has had on him, but his affection for Natalia is startling and he even asks for a token from her. I think they both wish secretly that they had ended up together.

 
20 Comments

Posted by on July 8, 2013 in 2 Rodoreda

 

2.3 The Time of the Doves (Ch. 15-21)

By Marquisse A. Jackson

SUMMARY:
In this section of The Time of the Doves, Quimet starts off by worrying Natalia by creating a homemade motorcycle car-seat for his new son so that he can take him on drives for fresh air (73).  Not any more than a year later Natalia falls pregnant once again and it is a rough pregnancy.  She feels sick as a dog, and the “sympathetic” Quimet asks her before she gives birth if she is going to once again break the bed post while pushing (74).  The baby girl’s birth was foretold by Quimet who kept saying he saw violets and it was going to be a girl.  They named the baby Rita (75). Here come in to play some interesting family dynamics.  Rita is constantly under attack from her jealous sibling, and Quimet’s mother has taught the boy to say that he doesn’t want to ride the motorcycle which drives his father crazy (75). Quimet gets a tapeworm and takes some medicine to throw it up.  They put it in a jar which is later taken by Antonio, their son, and put on their new baby girl.  This is the first time either parent wanted to or did physically discipline Antonio (78).
Quimet’s jobs begin to slow up, so instead of sitting at home twiddling her thumbs; Natalia goes and gets a part time job helping out a family in the mornings that Senyora Enriqueta knew.  She leaves her children locked in the dining room while she goes to work in the mornings (79).  She describes this place as a maze.  The lady of the house gives her a tour of the premises and explains to her about the two kids, her son and her sick daughter (87). Quimet is head strong in making money raising doves, and just dismisses Natalia getting a job (88).  Natalia’s first day starts out rough with the water not working to where she can wash the dishes.  So she ends up staying later to haul water down to finish the dishes so she can finish the rest of her cleaning.  She gets paid at once and runs home to see her kids are just fine (91).
The next day a man from the water company comes to fix the water on her job (92).  By the 3rd day Natalia is getting more comfortable with her job and comes in to see the son-in-law, man in the smock, has a black eye from a tenant that refused to pay rent (92).  A tenant search soon goes out with Natalia answering the doors and talking to potential tenants (94).  She slowly comes to accept that some people are rude and becomes comfortable with this part of her job (95).
Natalia then relents and lets Senyora Enriqueta watch her kids while she is at work (95)  until one day, she comes home from work and her kids are on the floor playing with the bird seed and tons of birds are everywhere inside the house  (98). From here Quimet has found someone who will build them a house where they can house even more doves to sell, but Natalia finds out that Quimet is giving away doves while she is working hard to support them (100).

PERSONAL RESPONSE:
This part of the book starts introducing the characters of her children.  It shows the struggle between the two for attention and shows the boy as being mischievous.  Seeing Natalia finally get out and do something of her own doing is somewhat impressive.  All she has ever done in her married life is what Quimet has told her, but she goes and finds a job for herself and works it.  I think it’s weird that she would lock her kids in the dinning room at their young ages, but it just shows how nervous she was for Senyora Enriqueta to watch her kids.  Today that would probably get your kids taken away, but at this point in time that seems to be the norm.  This part time job gave Natalia something that was her and also showed how much of a hard independent worker she can be.  Everything that Natalia has done up to now has been by command of her husband, but now she is able to work away from him at something she chose.  Her bosses give her the space to work and responsibility.
Quimet is set on selling doves.  He is excited about getting a house built not because his family has grown, but because he can house more doves to sell the chicks.  When Natalia finds out that Quimet is giving away chicks that he could sell, I can only see her thinking that she is once again the one doing all the work while he disappears to have fun.  Their relationship still has an imbalance, where he holds the position of power while she does all the work and makes the money.  Something has to give.

 
21 Comments

Posted by on July 4, 2013 in 2 Rodoreda

 

2.2 The Time of the Doves (Ch. 8-14)

By Jake Lankford

SUMMARY:
In this section of The Time of the Doves, Rodoreda begins by describing the Majorcan-style chair that Quimet has made, and how Natalie must be sure to polish the chair every Sunday – the day that they were “going to make a child” on (49). Natalia was scared to tell Senyora Enriqueta that she and Quimet had a “wedding week” (49), and that she cried at first because she was scared that Quimet would “rip her open” (51).  After losing the key to their house, Quimet was “gypped by a Jew” and had another “crazy fit” that lasted for days (53).  It was after this that his mother described him as stubborn and he developed his nightly “leg-aches” on a Sunday.
A random chance meeting had Natalia face-to-face with her old fiancé Pere, whom had heard she was getting married from Julieta.  After this, Natalia finds out that she is pregnant and hears the story of how Quimet and Cintet uprooted the jonquils in Quimets mother’s garden and buried them upside down – Quimet’s mother says that “little boys can make you suffer alot” , and cautions Natalia if it is a boy (57).  She begins to get a lot of fresh air and exercise per request of the midwife, with Quimet using the motorcycle to transport and upset Natalia.  Natalia’s father requests that the child be named either Lluís or Margarida, “even though his name was finished” (59).  Natalia begins to have cravings to clean the house and has trouble when trying to move (as her bones ache).  As she worsens, Quimet’s leg condition seems to worsen as well.  One night he has a dream where he touched his teeth and they all fell out, signaling to him that “he is going to die” (60).
Once the rose of Jericho bloomed, Natalia had a bouncing baby boy that weighed in 9-lbs; however, the child was almost suffocated and would not feed (especially with the boob problem that Natalia faced).  As the child gets smaller he cries more, and just when it seems he is about to die, Natalia’s breast began to drip, the breasts evened out, and the boy finally began to nurse off of the bottle.  We later find out that the boy’s name is Antoni and that Quimet’s leg condition had taken another downturn; so much that he cannot even sleep at night.  This does not mean that he is out of commission, as he is still able to gripe about his mother keeping the boy.  Natalia takes the boy in the afternoon to go look at the dolls in the store with the oilcloth.
The couple save a dove that is half-dead, and eventually build a blue dovecote for it and its new mate (known as Coffee and Maringa).  The couple learned to grind nettles (from Senyora Enriqueta via Flora Caravella) into their bread and Quimet brought a funnel home (that could not be chipped for bad luck!).  Later, after the additions of the roosts, Quimet bring home two more stranger doves, Monk and Nun (who would eventually take over the dovecote themselves).  The next few pages after this are filled with very descriptive images of the market; with the shellfish seller, the fish seller, the vegetable seller.
There appear to be “few headaches” until the Republic came and Quimet got very patriotic waving the flag in the streets – there was something about the “cool air” then, as Natalia states that, “I’ve never smelled again” as “an air that couldn’t last” (70).  Cintet describes how the King and Queen had to flee to France; as well as Mateu’s “love for Griselda” – it was “all he talked about”, making him sound like an idiot (especially when he said he could not take up a sport because he had to please Griselda) (71).  They argued, talked of the Republic, and spent most of the time discussing the doves and how they were getting along with their children.  Mateu describes how he “didn’t care for animals” and that he could “never eat one he raised”; Quimet replied to “wait and see until you are good and hungry” (72).  Cintet insisted that the doves be let out to spread their wings; however, the doves were initially hesitant at this “newfound freedom” (73).
This reading section ends with the quote from the cover: “And when Quimet saw the doves flying above our roof and only our roof, his face stopped looking so yellow and he said everything was okay.  When the doves got sick of flying they started to come down, first one and then another.  They went back in the dovecote like old ladies going to mass, taking little steps and jerking their heads like wind-up toys.  From then on I couldn’t hang clothes from the roof because the doves would get them dirty.  I had to hang them on the balcony.  And be grateful for that” (73).

PERSONAL RESPONSE:
To begin, I really do not appreciate the way that Quimet treats his wife, but I do understand that women’s rights were not as expansive around the time of the Spanish Civil War (late 1930s).  I found it ironic that Mateu stated that, “men are more sensitive than women”, and “how he’d almost fainted when he and Griselda were about to be alone together”.  He is even so head-over-heels in love that he does not even want to take on a new sport or extra job because it might make it where “he could not satisfy Griselda”.  Quimet’s mother warned Natalia that, “Little boys can make you suffer a lot.  If it’s a boy, be careful” (57).  In my opinion, it is the males in this novel who are rambunctious and tricky to deal with as they work, play, and socialize on what seem to be like random whims.  The women almost have to deal with adult children; as Quimet always skips out on the work, acts reckless on the motorcycle with his pregnant wife, refuses to listen to his mother, starts up this dovecote with his friends, that again he does not really help build or paint, and joins the Republican movement waving flags out in the street.  All-the-while, Natalia tries to keep everything going and “with little headaches” with the help and guidance of Quimet’s mother and Senyora Enriqueta, whom I feel is Natalia’s mother figure.
Another important quote that I would like to mention is where Cintet states that, “doves had to fly, that they weren’t made to live behind bars but up in the sky” (72).  Something tells me that this quote could have some deeper meaning; as people may have an urge to be free, and that anything that opposes that notion is unnatural.  With the new Republic and the coming events of the war, I feel as if the dove situation will become, or represent, this group’s future under the Franco regime.  When the doves fight, they also try to establish a form of dominance or hierarchy that rules over the dovecote.  To me, this parallels the coming events of the civil war as the Republicans who initially dominate (under Prime Minister Negrín) are usurped and ruled by the Nationalist forces (under the Franco regime).
Quimet was furious because he was “gypped by a Jew” on a restoration, and “took what he could get” from the man, while Natalia had to “pay for his bad mood” (53).  Not only does this reinforce the dislike I have for the way he treats his wife, but there exists in this text blatant anti-Semitism that was rampant all over Europe at this time in history.  This was right before Hitler began to exterminate Jews in his own Nazi concentration camps.  It saddens me that such sentiment was even found in Rodoreda’s writing; however, I cannot separate this from the fact that it was a prejudice that was ever-more present at that time; and especially common in many Catholic areas.
Finally, I wanted to end by analyzing the end quote of this particular section of the reading.  It was interesting to me that once Quimet took that leap of faith to allow the doves to fly; he finally found some peace in the world, that everything was “okay” (73).

 
17 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2013 in 2 Rodoreda

 

2.1 The Time of the Doves (Ch. 1-7)

By Elizabeth Blakley

SUMMARY:
A young woman named Natalia meets a man named Quimet at a get-together with her friend, Julieta. Quimet persuades her to begin a relationship, despite the fact that she is already engaged. Over time, their relationship develops to the point where Quimet becomes controlling, and he manipulates many of Natalia’s actions. They end up finding an apartment to share, and are married. Quimet continues to control Natalia, keeping tabs on what men speak to her and how she spends their money. At the end of this section, Quimet and Natalia are attempting to produce a child, though with no luck.

PERSONAL RESPONSE: 
The most noteworthy aspect of this reading, in my opinion, was just how complacent Natalia can be. She seems to listen to anyone with authority, and at the present Quimet is the only individual in her life who makes any attempts to sway her. She states at the start of the novel that she struggles with telling people ‘no,’ but it seems that by a certain point this applies the most to her relationship with Quimet. She has no problem breaking off her relationship with Pere, although he also objects to their break-up. I am interested to see where this trait will lead her as the story progresses, although I am thoroughly irritated by her complete apathy and cluelessness regarding Quimet’s behavior.
Places mentioned in the novel (YR-Z)
 
26 Comments

Posted by on July 2, 2013 in 2 Rodoreda

 

2.0 The Time of the Doves (1960)

TIMEOFTHEDOVES

Rodoreda, Mercè. The Time of the Doves. Trans. David Rosenthal. Saint Paul: Graywolf Press, 1981. Print. (ISBN: 978-0-915308-75-0)

Original language: Catalonian

Synopsis from the Back Cover:
The Time of the Doves, the powerfully written story of a naive shop-tender during the Spanish Civil War and beyond, is a rare and moving portrait of a simple soul confronting and surviving a convulsive period of history. The book has been through over twenty printings in Spain, has been widely translated, and was made into a film.”

HISTORICAL CONTEXT:
The period that frames this novel is also tumultuous. Spain was suffering a very difficult period in its history as it broke from tradition in pursuit of modernity and democracy. As a monarchy, the government failed to reach the needs of the majority of the country, thus propelling Spain into its Second Republic (1931-1936), a period of democratic governance, liberalized institutions, and a greater emphasis on equality and personal freedoms. Yet this change came with great repercussions.

The two main groups were the Nationalist and the Republicans. The Nationalists were the conservative party and were supported by the Catholic Church, the Army, and some aristocrats; it was the right- wing party. On the other hand, the Republicans were the liberal party supported by the middle and working classes, the left-wing party. The elections of 1931 took the Nationalists by surprise; they had been dominating the public arena for as long as Spain has been a nation, so it was predictable that this defeat would not be taken lightly.

Meanwhile, the people were enjoying freedoms they had never before experienced. Regionalists, citizens from Basque Country and Catalonia, wished to seize the moment to gain their autonomy from the rest of Spain. Women were allowed to vote, to work outside the home, to divorce, and to be considered as equals, so to speak. Workers established unions to protect their rights from abusive employers. Education, traditionally administered by the Church, became public and secular. Many schools were opened, and more people had access to education. Marriages, solely administered in the past by the Catholic Church to its members, could be performed by a justice of the peace or another official. All these changes were seen by the conservatives as tearing at the fabric of society.

The Second Republic had a short life. In the summer of 1936 the Spanish Civil War started. The General Francisco Franco rebelled against the government and became the leader of the Nationalists. With the help of Germany (Adolf Hitler) and Italy (Benito Mussolini), he defeated the Republican army constituted primarily by civilians and ended the war in 1939. Republicans, the defeated, received the derogatory name “Rojos” (Reds, or, in American parlance, “Pinkos”) as a reminder of their alliance with the Russian government (Joseph Stalin). During the time immediately after the war, members of the Republican party were severely persecuted. Many were killed or imprisoned. Castilian was considered the only official language of Spain, and the other languages, Basque, Galician, and Catalonian, were restricted to use in the home. Censorship came into effect, and the government and other institutions such as the Church and the Army could not be criticized. Spain fell into a military dictatorship of 36 years that ended with Franco’s death in 1975.

Look at the video and take notes.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2013 in 2 Rodoreda