Setting

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 83

The story takes place in the province of Andalusia, southern Spain, which is characterized by "majestic mountains, lacey olive groves, the round symmetry of the bullrings, and the pointed church steeples." Arcangel, the village, bordered on three sides by olive groves and on one side by the Guadalquivir River, is isolated and so small that all of the villagers know each other. Although an exact date for the story's action is never given, the activities and attitudes of the people suggest modem times.

Literary Qualities

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 118

Wojciechowska's descriptive style, which vividly portrays the beauty of the Andalusian country, has been compared to Ernest Hemingway's in its construction and simplicity of language, as well as in its depiction of bullfighting. Wojciechowska, who has resided in both Spain and Mexico and even fought a bull once herself, draws on her experiences to depict Andalusia and the customs of its people. A valuable glossary of bullfighting terminology is included. The author's use of short sentences and of conversation that is direct and to the point moves the story along swiftly. The climax's gripping suspense encourages empathy for the protagonist, helping the reader to experience Manolo's sense of danger and to care about his safety and his future.

Social Sensitivity

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 122

The theme of the book is socially sensitive because adolescents confront fears in many different ways. Manolo tries to hide his fear that he is a coward, but as the plot unfolds, he changes and faces his situation with courage. Manolo's plight of having to conform to others' expectations provides the means by which he matures, and should initiate a good discussion of social conformity. The violence of bullfighting is described but not excessively, although some readers will inevitably raise the issue of cruelty to animals. The killing of bulls is inherent to the action of the novel and is therefore unavoidable, but it is not too graphic. Even the description of tending the wounded "El Magnifico" is more clinical than gory.

For Further Reference

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 170

Commire, Anne, ed. Something about the Author. Vol. 28. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. Presents five pages of revealing autobiographical statements from Wojciechowska.

Dalgliesh, Alice. "Spring Brings the Winners." Saturday Review (March 27, 1965): 32. Review of Shadow of A Bull De Montreville, Doris, and Donna Hill, eds. Third Book of Junior Authors. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1972. Provides an autobiographical sketch of Wojciechowska and a list of her other works. Related articles about the author are also cited.

Gillespie, John, and Diana Lembo. Juniorplots: A Book Talk for Teachers and Librarians. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1967. Contains an evaluation of the novel and a list of related readings. Moritz, Charles, ed. Current Biography Yearbook. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1976. Contains a brief but comprehensive discussion of Wojciechowska's life and works.

Norton, Donna E. Through the Eyes of a Child: An Introduction to Children's Literature. Columbus: Charles Merrill, 1983. Norton analyzes emotional maturity and the ways it is achieved in Shadow of A Bull; she also discusses how self-esteem and stereotypical behaviors are portrayed in realistic fiction.

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