“La familia de Pascual Duarte” or in english Pascual Duarte’s family is a book written by Camilo José Cela in 1942. He won the Nobel Prize in Spain, and is one of the best novels in Spanish.
Narrator and Characters of “La familia de Pascual Duarte”:
The narrator and protagonist of the story is Pascual Duarte, who decides to write his story, after being sentenced to death. Similarly we find other characters of interest such as Pascual’s parents, Esteban and those who were drunk and abusive; his brother Mario, disabled; Rosario was her sister, who left the house and prostituted herself; Don Rafael, who was the possible father and murderer of Mario.
In the same way, other characters appear such as Esperanza, Pascual’s second wife; Stretch, Lola’s lover; Strech, whom Pascual murdered for making fun of him.
Summary and synopsis of the work:
The story of the novel is about Pascual Duarte, who is condemned to death and decides to write the story to prevent people from what may happen to them in their lives. He grew up in a very poor peasant family and was surrounded from a young age in an environment full of resentment and rancor. His parents were arbitrary alcoholics, and Mario, his younger brother, suffered from a mental disability that prevented him from walking.
For his part, we find Rosario, Pascual’s sister, who left the house and prostituted herself, as the only way out to improve her situation. Once she returned home sick with fever, but when she recovered she went away again. His brother Mario was born fifteen years after his sister and two days before he was born, his father Esteban was bitten by a rabid dog, and was locked in a closet because everyone was afraid of being attacked. Esteban died when his son Mario was born.
As Mario was disabled, he suffered rejection from everyone except his sister Rosario. This one crawled with the animals, and one day the pigs ate their ears and from that moment it was more difficult to observe it. Mario was insensitive but when he saw pigs, he kept screaming, and on one occasion Don Rafael, who was perhaps Mario’s real father, kicked him until he was unconscious, and the blood ran down the child’s auditory cavity.
Mario’s mother, at what happened, what he did was laugh, and Pascual, fearing that he would be classified as weak, did nothing about it. From that day on, his hatred for his mother grew. Some time later Mario was found drowned in an oil barrel, perhaps he was killed by Rafael.
As time passed, Pascual fell in love with Lola and was with her and when he found out that she was pregnant, he married her. On the day of their marriage, her horse hit an old woman, which turned out to be a bad omen that predicted that Lola would fall off that horse the day they arrived on their honeymoon. This fall caused a miscarriage. That day Pascual was not with her, since he was with friends in a bar, celebrating. But everything turned violent when a friend named Zacarías made fun of him and Pascual caused him a serious injury.
Some time later Lola became pregnant again. Her son was born and named Pascual, since Lola loved him that way. But after eleven months, the baby dies from respiratory problems. Pascual saw it as a punishment from God for all his sins.
After everything that happened, Pascual decides to escape from everything and leaves for Madrid. But after his return, his wife Lola begins to cry and confesses that she is pregnant and that the father is Estirao. Lola fell dead.
Pascual was very upset and decided to find out Estirao’s whereabouts. Then he was involved in a fight, since Pascual’s virility was questioned, which made him quite angry, and that is why he finished with Strech.
So Pascual spent 3 years in prison, and he was released for good conduct. His sister Rosario went to see him when she found out that he had returned. He was glad to get his sister’s affection. Then he met Esperanza, the niece of Mrs. Engracia, who was a good person, and became his second wife.
They were married for two months until Pascual again felt that bad energy from his mother towards his wife Esperanza. So he was presented with two options, the first was to hold back and run away and the second was to kill his mother. But he decided the second one.
So Pascual goes to his mother’s room, where she was asleep, and stands next to her, prepares the knife and meditates on the murder. After staying there for a long time, the mother wakes up and asks who is there, and stabbed her in the throat after strong struggles. Pascual flees until he reaches the field where he continues on his way.
Analysis of “The family of Pascual Duarte”:
“Pascual Duarte’s family” tells us about a man named Pascual and his family, where evil, suffering, cruelty, hatred and desolation can be witnessed. The central character constantly experiences pain, loneliness, sadness, which make him commit crimes and murders that will lead to his conviction. So he decides to write his story to
warn the reader that it can happen if you do not act correctly in life.
When this novel was first published, it was considered very controversial, as it has very tragic and strong scenes that reveal human cruelty. However, many critics express that this work reveals the social reality of Spain. For this reason, in 1989 this work received the Nobel Prize for Literature, for its contributions to literature, where the historical context of a Nation is captured at a crucial moment of great instability.
“The ideas that upset us never suddenly come; the sudden drowns a few moments, but leaves us, as we leave, long years of life ahead. The thoughts that drive us mad with the worst of follies, that of sadness, always come little by little and as if without feeling, as without feeling the fog invades the fields, or consumption of the breasts.
“The sun was falling; its last rays were going to strike the sad cypress, my only company. It was hot; Tremors ran through my entire body; I couldn’t move, I was nailed as by the wolf’s gaze ”
“Things are never as we see them at first sight, and so it happens that when we begin to see them up close, when we begin to work on them, they present us with such rare and even unknown aspects that they do not sometimes leave us with the first idea nor the memory; such happens with the faces that we imagine ”