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The Torrent Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The Torrent, the English title of the novel, refers to an important episode in the book based on a historical fact, a serious flood caused by the river Tucar, and the efforts of local farmers to make the waters subside. The lovers meet in this atmosphere and they fall in love; she is an outsider, an experienced and accomplished woman who represents freedom and passion; he is the heir to an important estate and political responsibilities who, early on, is seduced by the prospects of the fuller and more exciting life that the relationship promises. The hero, however, is unable to free himself from his own environment and accepts, almost without a struggle, the path chosen for him. He inherits his father's lands but also his politics and prejudices. In the process, he abandons his hopes and dreams, and the woman he loves. Society, portrayed here as traditional and repressive. triumphs at the expense of the individual. The opportunities for freedom and renewal, which take the form of the woman from outside, are rejected and defeated. Nature, as the force capable of unleashing energy and love, must also be repressed just as the waters of the river must be contained.