Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands Additional Summary

Jorge Amado

Summary

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The novel opens during Carnival in Salvador, Bahia. Dona Flor’s first husband, Vadinho, has just died while dancing the samba in the streets, dressed as a woman. Dona Flor holds a wake and the popular Vadinho’s numerous friends, including everyone from political heavyweights to prostitutes, come to pay their respects and reminisce about their carousing, sexually promiscuous, and gambling friend. Vadinho’s funeral is even better attended than his wake. Afterward, however, the young, respectable Dona Flor is alone, her life empty. She deeply misses Vadinho, who, though he was unfaithful to her, came and went at all hours, and gambled away their money, was a passionate and spontaneous lover. Flashbacks tell of the couple’s life together.

Dona Flor decides to move on with her life. She meets and marries, following a very proper courtship, Dr. Teodoro Madureira, a local pharmacist. He is everything Vadinho was not: faithful, respectable, formal. He is also not the lover that Vadinho was. This becomes apparent on the couple’s honeymoon. Still, Dona Flor is happy because her life is stable, her place in society a respectable one. Dona Flor’s stable, if rather boring, existence changes radically, however, when, on the night of her first wedding anniversary with Teodoro, she finds a naked Vadinho lying on the couple’s bed, returned from the dead and visible only to Dona Flor. His only interest is in making love to Dona Flor. Dona Flor fights off...

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Bibliography

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Chamberlain, Bobby J. Jorge Amado. Boston: Twayne, 1990. Useful, informative, and readable, this critical analysis of Amado’s work covers all periods of the novelist’s output while focusing on a few of the author’s most important works. A biographical chapter is included, as well as an extensive bibliography.

Edinger, Catarina. “’Dona Flor” in Two Cultures.” Literature-Film Quarterly 19 (October, 1991): 235-241. An interesting comparison of the film and literary versions of Amado’s novel. Criticizing Bruno Baretto’s film remake of Amado’s novel, Edinger contends that the American version lacks humor and emphasizes rationality over ambivalence. She also discusses the difficulty of translating the book’s tone about sexuality and passion into American sensibilities, as well as the differences in characterization.

Hinchberger, Bill. “Jorge Amado Writes from Heart, Home.” Variety 366 (March 31, 1997): 56. Hinchberger explores the inspirations that shape Amado’s work, the filming of Amado’s novels, and Amado’s reaction to the critical acclaim he has received. Offers interesting insight into the influences that shaped Amado’s work.

Horton, Andrew. “Bakhtin, Carnival Triumph, and Cinema: Bruno Barreto’s Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands and Dusan Makavejev’s Innocence Unprotected Reconsidered.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 12 (May, 1990): 49-62. Horton argues that the film versions of Amado’s and Makavejev’s novels fit Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of parody. Barreto uses carnival in the plot of his film, and Makavejev’s movie uses a carnivalesque technique for deconstruction of history.

Robitaille, L. B. “These Men of Letters Speak for the Powerless.” World Press Review 38 (December, 1991): 26-27. An intriguing profile of Amado, covering his political activity, his life in Paris, and his feelings for his native Brazil. Presents background that sheds considerable light on his writings.