Last Updated on January 10, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 391
One major character of Carmen Martín Gaite’s novel The Back Room is the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. In this semiautobiographical, metafictional story, the narrator Carmen reflects on her childhood and her life under Franco’s rule. Franco gained power after the Spanish Civil War. His conservative, autocratic government was founded by the Nationalist Party, who defeated the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War (which lasted from 1936 to 1939). Locally known as the “caudillo,” Franco left a lasting mark on Spain during and after his dictatorship, which ended in 1975 with his death.
Carmen is the protagonist and narrator of this novel; her life up until the time the novel takes place was lived almost entirely under Franco’s rule. The narrator spends much of her time reflecting on the changes in Spain after the Spanish Civil War, which ushered in a world of danger and scarcity and whose gravity could not be entirely appreciated by the young Carmen and her girlhood friends. Carmen is a writer, and (in an overtly metaphysical stroke of the novel) she was inspired to write a book recounting the events of her life while watching Franco’s funeral on television.
Alejandro is the mysterious and supernatural interviewer in the novel. This man, whose name is not revealed until later in the novel, arrives in the middle of the night at Carmen’s apartment and announces himself to be an interviewer. Carmen finds this strange: she doesn’t think he...
(The entire section contains 391 words.)
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