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The Hour Of The Star Essay

1818 words - 7 pages

The Hour of the Star

As Clarice Lispector was writing what would become her last literary creation, The Hour of the Star, little did she know that while her body was plagued with the devastations of cancer, her mental struggle for peace and grace in death would inspire her most renowned novel. Perhaps it is because of those circumstances, she created a novel with intuitive reflections on both life and death, as seen through the life of the main character, Macabea. The story is narrated by Rodrigo S.M., and although Rodrigo attempts to maintain a neutral stance, he is often conflicted by his own perceptions and feelings. At the book’s commencement Rodrigo spends quite some time explaining that while the story is mainly about a woman, having the book narrated by a female would weaken the richness of content. He explains that a woman is incapable of clearly emphasizing the harshness of reality; that she is too emotional and attempting to explain the life of a wretched girl would be hard because her emotions would not allow an unbiased depiction of the cruelties of life. Macabea is introduced in the novel as a poor girl who does what she must to survive in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. She is, Rodrigo remarks, nothing out of the ordinary. Physically there is nothing about Macabea which sets her apart from the other countless street rascals who live hand to mouth. He then provides readers with some of her early life history, including how she almost died at birth because of rickets, and how both her parents succumbed to typhoid fever when she was a toddler. Finally after their death Macabea was forced to move in with her aunt, who too eventually passed away, but not before procuring the child a job to support herself. In the course of the novel the popular culture, though vague and metaphorical at times, affects Macabea and the secondary characters personalities and actions.
It should be mentioned that the story uses a myriad of figurative and metaphoric imagery. Throughout the novel the narrator injects his own views, often leading the reader to a deeper questioning of the story as it unfolds. He frequently speaks about what would happen if the main character were to do things in a different way. Also, through the interjection of varying levels of foreshadowing the reader gets a sense of where the story is headed. At one point the narrator says “…were I to touch the girl’s bread, the bread would turn to gold – and the girl, the girl would be unable to bite into it, and consequently die of hunger.” (15) Literally read this statement is difficult to dissect. However if we look at it in the figurative sense we begin to perceive the deeper meaning. Prior to this statement the narrator talks about how he cannot use big succulent terms, lest the reader become confused and not be able to understand what is being said. Without that understanding the reader would become perplexed and the essence of the novel would be lost. So stating it in this particular...

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