The meeting of the classes: Fortunata (low) gives birth to Juanito’s (upper) child, but managing this situation is Dona Lips (middle). Maximiliano wants to kill Juanito, his brother wants to kill himself, Guillermina wants to save everyone, Aurora is all mixed up with Juanito… entertaining!
Olimpia playing that piece over and over, as if she’ll ever master it. And it’s like an absurd soundtrack to their lives, these middle class trying so hard to be more, like Fortunata, but failing and falling short every time.
Juan Pablo’s rhetoric (against private property; all forms) is compared to the scraps leftover in a cafe: so many spoons and dirty cups. It’s all a bunch of pointless talk that won’t amount to anything and meanwhile the real civil war is going on in Spain all around them.
As he plans murdering Fortunata they attend to all those caged birds as if they were gods metering out favors to their prisoners. The image is complex because this must be how he sees his power over her (her being insignificant, though his tormentor) but it also shows him as weak because he’s tending motherly to these tiny birds.
Sane people don’t usually go around thinking about how sane they are. Yes, Maximiliano is thinking clearly (using logic) but it feels like it’s a knife being used by a skilled madman.
How beautiful this image is of the wind carrying the sound of the midnight hour over and around the square as she falls asleep. And then we get the image of all the different church clocks ringing the hour like a portent, chaotic, man made, loud, orderly, are all the ways you can read this image.
Snow storm and everything is white and perfect, but by noon the snow on the roofs is cracked and in the market square it’s all muddy and there are messy puddles everywhere. Perfection never lasts. But this scene immediately followed her thinking, “When nature talks, men have to shut up.” Well not so fast.
Interesting. Fortunata can’t forgive Jacinta if Jacinta had been unfaithful, but can’t stand her if she wasn’t unfaithfull. This pride of Jacinta is her curse. But this is an indictment of lower class lower educated people in general who struggle so much in life simply because they are too proud, and worry too much about being disrespected (because that’s all they have left).
Fortunata being a tenant in an apartment owned by Guillermina has an almost religious undertone to it : the sinner seeking shelter within the jurisdiction of the saint. And the saint, too now has a responsibility to care for the sinner, a difficult task for her for once (remember she said all her charity work had been easy and she prayed for a challenge.)
“Have you turned into a rocket or something?” An example of me being skeptical of the translation. I’m sure the original is some form of slang, and I bet Gullon (translator) wanted to preserve the feel of the language by using modern sounding language, but in a novel about 19th century life, 20th century vernacular seems out of place.