Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 3109
“The Sun, the Moon, the Stars” begins with the narrator claiming to be a good person even though he admits to cheating on his girlfriend. “I’m not a bad guy,” he says. He rejects the stereotype of the philandering Dominican male as it applies to him. The narrator continues to rationalize his poor judgment, saying that everyone makes mistakes. He maintains his good character even after he reveals the presence of a letter that confirms his former girlfriend’s opinion of him.
Looking back on his relationship with Magda, the narrator believes that their relationship had begun to improve once he began to express greater interest in her activities. “A nice rhythm we had going,” he says. By then the affair with Cassandra has been over for months, yet the narrator cannot ignore the devastating impact her letter has had on his relationship with Magda and her family. He is now treated as an outcast, whereas he was once regarded as a son. He compares the damage to a “five-train collision.”
The narrator continues to debate whether he should have admitted to the affair with Cassandra. His friends advise him to deny everything, but at the time he is too filled with remorse and too overwhelmed by the sight of Magda’s pain to ignore the truth. “You have to listen to me, Magda. Or you won’t understand,” he begs.
The narrator describes Magda’s physical appearance and personality. “She’s a forgiving soul,” one who attends Mass and asks nuns to pray for distant relatives. He is not the only one who has a high opinion of her, for “[s]he’s the nerd every librarian in town knows, a teacher whose students fall in love with her.” She is thoughtful and generous. “You couldn’t think of anybody worse to screw than Magda,” the narrator concludes.
The narrator then summarizes his attempts to win Magda back. Without shame, he recalls “[t]he begging, the crawling over glass, the crying” he did to convince her not to abandon their relationship. They discuss Cassandra, and the narrator placates Magda’s curiosity by saying that he would have told her about the affair eventually. In the end, the narrator’s love for Magda wins out over his sense of pride, yet that pride is not eliminated completely.
Nevertheless, the narrator senses that a profound change has occurred within Magda. “My Magda was turning into another Magda,” he says. The narrator discovers that his girlfriend is no longer as accommodating as she once was. Rather than view her change in attitude as a result of his infidelity, he blames this change on the influence of her girlfriends, whom he believes are “feeding her a bad line.” Even though he tries to ignore the fallout from the affair, every attempt he makes at reconciliation seems to confirm “something negative” about him. Magda’s changes in attitude become more visible as time passes, bringing about improvements in her physical appearance and wardrobe, improvements that, as the narrator says, “would have alarmed a paranoid nigger.”
The scene changes to summer, and the narrator describes plans for a vacation to Santo Domingo. The vacation is put into doubt because Magda feels pressured to make a commitment which she is unprepared to do. The narrator, on the other hand, believes that a vacation will end the ambiguity and uncertainty that has plagued their relationship since Magda learned of the affair the previous winter. “Me and her on the Island. What couldn’t this cure?” Once again, the narrator blames Magda’s reluctance on her friends’ influence.
The narrator momentarily forgets his worries as he reflects upon his hometown of Santo Domingo and the many things he has missed since he left the Dominican Republic for New York. With tenderness and affection, he recalls the hospitality of...
(The entire section contains 3109 words.)
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