On the surface, Fuentes' Aura is a very strange and eerie book. It draws you in and keeps you there, forcing you to read the book to its very end. Just below the surface, a world of symbolism, words and parallels lead to a greater understanding of what is happening throughout this captivating tale.
Skimming the surface of the story, an abundance of symbols can be signaled out, but a recurrence of symbols is very important. One of the most prevalent symbols found in this story is the darkness of Senora Consuelo's old colonial mansion. The house is so dark the characters must learn to maneuver by sound and touch. The darkness sets the tone for the whole story. Senora Consuelo's room is not bathed in light but filled with "perpetual shadows". Of course darkness and shadows are a staple of the Gothic, but darkness could also be suggestive of the unknown or not being able to think clearly. Shadows could be interpreted as that which is clouded, hard to grasp, or just beyond clear vision. Did the darkness and shadows contribute to Felipe?s state of mind and make him more susceptible to Senora Consuelo's will?
The rooms where the action of a story takes place are also very important. Some the rooms used in the book are bedrooms, the dining room, the parlor, and the enclosed garden patio. The first room we see inside of this old house is the garden patio. This room is interesting because the smell from the patio is always associated with the title character. Felipe looks for her in this garden; he smells the patio plants in her hair. Symbolically, the garden can be associated with the mind, with the unconscious, or it may give you clues to your own inner state. The plants, flowers, and fruit found in the garden may also enhance this meaning. Fruit can be associated with what the body, mind, or soul feeds upon or it can be associated with the feminine energy. This association with the feminine energy may be why the smell patio plants remind him of Aura.
The dining room usually corresponds to what one is feeding the body, mind, or soul. Although the parlor, or living room, is only mentioned in passing, it is often associated with one?s current state of mind or personal situation.
The bedrooms have more obvious associations, as I am sure you can imagine. Sexual activity, intimacy, vulnerability, passion, security, safety, comfort, and feelings of connectedness and or closeness all correspond to what one thinks of a bedroom. Bedrooms are very personal rooms, and what is kept in them often reflects part of their character.
The number three is seen numerous times throughout the story. Aura can only stay for three days at a time. There are three parts to General Llorente?s memoirs. These three sections are each bound by a ribbon that is one of the three primary colors. There are three types of animals roaming the house. Felipe eats three evening meals that consist of the same three foods, liver, tomatoes, and onions. Felipe lights three...