The Palace of the White Skunks is the story of Fortunato and of the young man’s eccentrically frustrated and obsessive family: Polo, Fortunato’s grandfather, who considers himself cursed for having engendered only daughters; Jacinta, Fortunato’s superstitious and crazed grandmother; Digna, Celia, Onerica, and Adolfina, Polo’s and Jacinta’s daughters, all marginalized figures who desperately search for a space, either real or imaginary, in which to forget the misery of their existence. Together, on a structural level, the sisters function to articulate a psychotic and paranoic discourse that identifies the passive role assigned to women in Hispanic society. Their frustrated attempts to escape their suffocating fate only add to their sense of desperation. The sisters’ children, Esther (Celia’s daughter), Tico and Anisia (Digna’s son and daughter), and Fortunato (Onerica’s son), are all fatherless. On a spiritual level, Digna, Celia, Onerica, and Adolfina also are fatherless, since Polo rejects them because of their gender. Throughout the novel, these characters—or, rather, voices, for the text is constructed as a cacophony of voices—are given the opportunity to recount their own obsessive stories of despair.
In the novel, Fortunato pursues writing as a means to survive the continual oppression of his family and the conservatism of his hometown. He fabricates and invents imaginary refuges that take him away from his...
(The entire section is 530 words.)