Ana María is a prototype of the Latin American women in the 1930’s who did not have an active participation in economics or politics. Therefore, in the restrictive role of wife and mother, the protagonist searches for love as the only means to achieve a goal in life. Her relations with Ricardo, Antonio, and Fernando reveal three crucial stages in her life: sexual initiation, the passive acceptance of social conventions symbolized by marriage, and erotic sublimation in unconsummated adultery. Significantly, these three stages mark the progressive degradation of those instinctive and primordial elements in feminine character being slowly eroded by societal conformism.
The love experiences with Ricardo are tinged with sensuality nurtured by sensations equated with nature. Ricardo’s adolescent body is compared to the vitality of the wild forest and the indomitable strength of a stallion. His caresses are described as a dark and wild carnation. Ana María ignores social regulations that demand virginity and gives in to instincts deeply rooted in nature. Thus, when she becomes pregnant, she feels completely identified with budding trees, the graceful flight of doves, and the sounds surrounding her. She is, in fact, intimately united to Matter. Ricardo’s abandonment and the accidental abortion destroy this natural and harmonious relationship with nature. She encloses herself in her room and passively accepts Antonio’s marriage proposal.
Married life is...
(The entire section is 606 words.)