What are Nenita's feelings towards her husband?

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Nenita's feelings towards her husband are complex and involve a sense of duty rather than love. She's neither thrilled nor upset by his actions, choosing instead to continue her life unperturbed. Despite his unfaithfulness, she doesn't seek revenge or escape, instead finding contentment in her own sphere. Some suggest she feels compassion for him as a form of self-compensation. His death liberates her from the constraints of their loveless marriage, allowing her to live according to societal standards as a widow rather than a divorcee.

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It is telling, I think that when Nenita is first introduced, she is described as "the wife." She is not the loving wife, the dutiful wife, the good wife: just the wife. Earlier, she'd taken a nap that she hadn't meant to take. We learn that her husband's siblings had spoken down to her, criticized her, but they are mostly dead now. She continues to pray for their souls but she isn't sad that they're gone. She has lots of work to do—rice cakes to make for an order, a tea to make for her hungover grandson, her husband's medicinal tea—and so she gets to it. She hears her husband singing at a party, even from her home, and she really cannot understand the big fuss over his singing. It makes her happier to listen to him talk about music with her grandson.

In other words, it's a life. Nenita neither feels extravagant love for her husband nor hates him. He's unfaithful, and she goes about her life. He takes the money his relatives sent for his medication and spends it with another woman, and Nenita goes about her life. She seems to be relatively contented in her sphere, and so she continues in it. She even has the means to poison him and escape this life, should she choose to do so, but she knows she never will. She is content, and she lives life on her own terms, and this is good enough for her.

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In my opinion, Nenita does not love her husband, but rather feels an obligation to serve him, as she is a woman in a traditional society that places little value on a woman’s perspective and emotional well-being. Nenita feels that it is not her place to have an opinion, let alone take action against her husband’s activities; therefore, she blindly serves her role as obedient wife.

Nenita is trapped in a loveless relationship with a person who underestimates and undervalues her existence. And Nenita herself underestimates and undervalues her own existence. Therefore, the feelings Nenita shows for her husband can be seen as a way of compensating for what she does not have for herself. In other words, Nenita feels compassion for her philandering husband because no one feels this compassion for her. Every time one of his extramarital affairs ends, she takes him right back with open arms. She does not punish him for his transgressions, nor does she refuse his demands upon her as she nurses him back to health and obeys his commands.

The most convincing fact that leads us to the conclusion that Nenita feels no love for her husband is how she responds to his death. Through his death, she frees herself from the constraints put upon her by their marriage. She no longer has to live her life knowing that he does not love her and that she does not love him. She is free from the obligation of being his dutiful wife. And most importantly, she still conforms to her society’s standards by not being a divorcee but rather a widow, which, in her eyes, is much more acceptable and even noble.

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When Daryll Delgado's story "Preludes" begins, it appears that Nenita cares deeply for her husband, despite his numerous infidelities. Rumors of his involvement with various women seem not to faze her in the slightest, and she manages to remain remarkably calm and imperturbable in the face of a potentially serious threat to her marriage.

In reality, however, Nenita's demeanor conceals considerably more than it reveals. Beneath the benign facade beats the heart of a wronged woman, her self-esteem in pieces due to her husband's serial philandering. Yet despite her appalling treatment at the hands of her husband, Nenita does not seek revenge. Her herbalist friend wants her to poison her husband, and although Nenita does indeed buy some poison, it's to give her a sense of security more than anything else. Her conscience will not allow her to use it to commit murder. When all's said and done, it would appear that Nenita still has feelings for her husband, despite everything that's happened.

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