The Need for Human Interaction and Love to Prevent Silence and Isolation
When Rafael’s parents die when he is just fifteen, he must become used to the incredible silence that surrounds him on the llano. They die, far from home, in a blizzard which also snowed him in for several days. He buries them in silence in the frozen landscape of the llano, and he only gets the opportunity to tell people in the town of Las Animas when the spring thaw comes. He lives in absolute silence, without human interaction, until that time, and it seems, by then, it is too late. Rafael has become overwhelmed by silence and avoids interaction until he meets a young woman who has experienced a similar tragedy.
The Loss of Those We Love Can Blind Us to the Good in Life
When Rafael’s wife dies immediately after childbirth, it is as though he loses the ability to experience any joy in the world. She had filled his world with color again—the green of her garden vegetables, the colors of her flowers, and the blooms on the peach tree—and she has filled the void with the sound of her singing, bathing, and going about her life. When she dies in childbirth, he cannot see beauty anywhere else—not even in his infant daughter, who he now blames for the death of his wife.
Even When we Feel No Hope or Joy, It is Still Possible to Find Some
It is not until the very end of the story, when Rafael realizes how much his nearly adult daughter reminds him of his wife, that he begins to feel joy again. He offers it, first, to her, promising to prepare the land for her to have her own garden, like her mother had. He, his daughter, and the reader can imagine the color, vibrancy, and life returning to the dying garden that his daughter hasn't been able to revive despite her efforts.