Anyone who has read a significant portion of Spanish literature knows that they either begin or end tragically, or “better yet” they are tragic all the way. I know that first statement is probably a generalization but nevertheless I think it is true. Spanish literature whether in the form of novels, dramas, poetry, etc. is filled with tragedy. Because of the tragedy that is so readily available in Spanish literature, in this blog I will be exploring the various ways in which tragedy is presented in various works and what the tragedies may reflect about human life or the “human condition” as philosophers often say. Specifically I will be looking at Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Cien Años de Soledad, Rodolfo Usigli’s drama Corona de sombra, the novella Lazarillo de Tormes, and three short stories by various Hispanic authors.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Las medias rojas

Well, I’ll have to say I am glad that this is the final post. I don’t think I can write about this depressing stuff anymore as it is becoming a tragedy in my life (Jpun intended). “Las medias rojas” is a short story by Emilia Pardo Bazán and in English it means “The Red Stocking”. While this short story does not involve death, it nevertheless involves a significant tragedy, hence the title of this blog. The tragedy in “Las medias rojas” occurs when Ildara’s beauty and essentially hope is destroyed by a violent father who disfigures her by violently beating her over a pair of red stockings she bought. On first thought we wonder why a father would beat his daughter over a pair of red stockings, but when we examine the story we find that the red stockings represent the hope and happiness that Ildara feels over the thought that she will soon be leaving her poor and destitute life for a better life. Unlike Ildara, Ildara’s father does not want to leave and therefore disfigures Ildara so that she also cannot leave. The tragic disfiguration of Ildara is very important in that, Ildara’s beauty was what promised her that spot on the ship that would take her to a better life, but without that beauty Ildara no longer has a chance to leave as the ship only accepts the beautiful. On a figurative level, by destroying Ildara’s beauty, Ildara’s father destroys her hope of ever living a better life. By presenting such a brutal way of how one can be rendered hopeless, I believe that Bazán is sending a message about not only the brutality of life, but also the hopelessness that fills the lives of many. Hopelessness in my opinion is the greatest tragedy of all because without hope what is there to live for? Furthermore, this idea of hopelessness is really something that is at the heart of all these tragedies that we see in Spanish literature. In constantly putting tragedy after tragedy in their works, Hispanic authors are not trying to render life as something that is inherently dismal rather they are trying to show that hope is what keeps us alive and that when we allow the tragedies of our lives to consume us we subject ourselves to losing the most important thing that keeps us going each and every day, and that is hope. 


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  2. Thank you for your analysis! This really helped me understand the story more for my AP Spanish Lit class. Thanks again!

  3. It also represents how much control a man had over a woman's life at the time. Ildara's beauty was her ticket to get out of her father's house and go to America. Without her beauty and without her sight (as she is blinded by the beating) she will be unable to ever leave her father, even in marriage. We learn from the story that Ildara's mother suffered a similar fate of abuse from the father. In this, we see that the story shows the cycle of abusers.

  4. thank you so much for this post. it helped me so much with my AP Spanish Lit class.