Summary (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
All Green Shall Perish is divided into two parts. Each depicts a crucial period in the life of Ágata Cruz, and virtually all the action of the novel takes place within Ágata’s anguished consciousness. The theme and tone are established in the somber description of the desolate landscape of Nicanor Cruz’s estancia at the beginning of part 1. The drought suffered by the barren land is mirrored in the barren relationship of Nicanor and Ágata Cruz, who remain childless after fifteen years of marriage and estranged from each other by their inability to communicate and by an ever growing sense of isolation and resentment. Nicanor has lost his battle with the sterile land, although he stubbornly refuses to admit the defeat which has transformed him into a withdrawn and bitter man. Ágata, more sensitive and intelligent than her husband, asks more from life than he does and would have liked to help him during the early years, but Nicanor’s pride would not allow him to accept her help. Ágata is suffering from depression and resents being condemned to live out a life that she would never have chosen.
From this vantage point in time, Ágata reexperiences her past life in a series of flashbacks: first, the lonely childhood with her alienated father in the small port of Ingeniero White; then, her precipitous decision to marry Nicanor Cruz, a limited and taciturn man whom she did not love but who provided her with an escape from the stifling atmosphere of her childhood and the...
(The entire section is 616 words.)
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Bibliography (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
Chapman, Arnold. “Terms of Spiritual Isolation in Eduardo Mallea.” Modern Language Forum 37 (1952): 21-27. An insightful study of Mallea’s use of metaphor.
Dudgeon, Patrick. Eduardo Mallea: A Personal Study of His Work. Buenos Aires: Agonia, 1949. Brief but useful for its discussions of Fiesta in November and The Bay of Silence.
Lewald, H. Ernest. Eduardo Mallea. Boston: Twayne, 1977. A sound introduction covering Mallea’s formative period, his handling of passion, his cosmopolitan spirit, his national cycle, and his last fictional works. Includes chronology, notes, and annotated bibliography.
Lichtblau, Myron I., trans. Introduction to History of an Argentine Passion, by Eduardo Mallea. Pittsburgh, Pa.: Latin American Literary Review Press, 1983. This introduction to the first English translation of a Mallea essay provides an excellent overview of his place in Spanish American fiction. Lichtblau includes an excellent bibliography.
Polt, John H. The Writings of Eduardo Mallea. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959. Polt discusses Mallea’s essays and fiction through the mid-1950’s. A thorough study.
Shaw, Donald L. Introduction to Todo verdor perecerá. Oxford, England: Pergamon Press, 1968. Cited as an outstanding interpretation.
Shaw, Donald L. “Narrative Technique in Mallea’s La bahía de silencio.” Symposium 20 (1966): 50-55. One of the few studies of this kind in English.
Stabb, Martin S. In Quest of Identity: Patterns in the Spanish American Essay of Ideas, 1890-1960. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1967. Although Stabb devotes a section mainly to Mallea’s essays, his comments provide helpful background for the fiction as well.