Duarte home. Modest house in the village of western Spain’s Torremejía region, where Duarte grows up and twice marries. His home receives a more extensive description than any other location in the novel. His account is both apologetic and nostalgic. Although Duarte portrays his home as generally cramped, unclean, and poorly constructed, he also conveys many positive memories of the warmth and comfort of its kitchen. These conflicting images effectively represent his uncertainty as to whether or not his upbringing is primarily responsible for his subsequent crimes.
The environs of the house are unwholesome. The well is polluted, the stench from the adjacent stable is noxious, and ravines in the vicinity are full of dead animals. The creek that flows past the house is downstream from the estate of a wealthy landowner, and its filthy, odorous water symbolizes the relative social position of the Duartes, as well as the extent to which they see society as caring about their well-being.
*Torremejía (toh-RAY-may-hee-zha). Spanish village located in the province of Badajoz near the border with Portugal. Whereas the Duarte’s water is polluted, the village’s fountain has been dry for years, and communal life is correspondingly desolate. The clock in the town hall’s tower has stopped, the road through the village is barren of traffic, and one of the town’s few social amenities is a raucous...
(The entire section is 605 words.)