Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 482

A nineteen-year-old girl named Marta falls from the top of a skyscraper that houses apartments and business offices; the story chronicles her slow-motion toppling from the roof toward the street.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Marta lets herself fall from the building after she watches the brilliance of the sunset over the city, which “provokes dreams of greatness and glory,” and after she sees that the city she lives in is filled with mansions, diamonds, parties, and affairs. She hopelessly lets herself fall, perhaps because she recognizes that she cannot achieve the greatness and glory others have.

Marta slowly floats past various floors of the skyscraper and interacts with nameless inhabitants. She passes millionaires’ balconies, where she is invited in to join the cocktail parties. Marta refuses, however, saying she is in a hurry, and floats onward, feeling enormously satisfied that the rich people notice her; she feels fascinating and stylish because of the attention paid to her by the wealthy.

As the sun plunges into the sea and evening comes on, Marta continues past offices where employees sit in long rows, looking up at the falling girl, and somewhat enviously ask who she is and where she is going. Marta only laughs and falls, saying she is expected down on the street. She notices the street is filled with long black cars and that the rich in their sparkling jewels are entering the building for a party, exactly the kind of event that she had dreamed of ever since she was a child. She imagines that if she arrives on time at the entrance to the building, she will find the true beginning of her life, the romance and wonderful fate for which she has been waiting her entire life.

Unfortunately, Marta notices that she is not alone on her plunge: Other young women also are streaming down the side of the building, head first, waving as they drop. Marta notices that they are more fashionably dressed, some even in minks, and she begins to feel less self-assured and more fearful. She wonders if she has made some kind of error. As she continues her fall, a new day dawns, but Marta is feeling worse because everyone has left the ball by now and the long black cars are gone from the front of the building.

At the story’s close, Marta is seen from the perspective of a forty-year-old man, Alberto, and his wife, who live on the twenty-eighth floor. Their dialogue reveals that Marta has aged tremendously and is now an old woman. The couple enjoy their breakfast and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living on their floor: They only see old women falling past their windows, but they do have the opportunity of hearing the thud when these women hit the ground. Alberto listens for a number of minutes but hears no thud; dissatisfied, he takes another sip of his morning coffee.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Next

Themes