Rosario Ferre's work 'The Youngest Doll'

Rosario Ferre’s work ‘The Youngest Doll’ Essay Sample

Rosario Ferré uses dolls in her writing to symbolize the methods in which society holds down women in Puerto Rico as well as throughout the world. In “The Youngest Doll,” Ferré sets the precedent that dolls are equal to the maiden aunt’s nieces, by stating, “The aunt had continued to increase the size of the dolls so that the height and other measurements conformed to those of each of the girls (Ferré 483).” The methods in which the aunt prepares the doll, such as, “Then she would make a wax mask of the child’s face, covering it with plaster on both sides, like a living face wrapped in two dead ones (483),” re-entrench the concept that it is not only men but women who view the female in a diminished sense. This is further developed when the aunt states, “She would reassure the grooms by explaining to them that the doll was merely a sentimental ornament, of the kind that people used to place on the lid of grand pianos in the old days (484).” This contradiction, while subliminal, demonstrates the primary objective of Ferré, that women are viewed as objects that have no pragmatic value; essentially on earth as a toy.

Also, the manner in which Ferré describes characters shows the manner in which she feels women are treated in society. Specifically, the fact that not a single character or doll is given a personal name throughout the story exemplifies the idea that women are just viewed as objects and not people. Thus, because Ferré shows women to be viewed as objects and shows this with the dolls as well, the author believes women to be held down by society.

2. Isabel Allende uses magical realism throughout “The Little Heidelberg,” to enrich the theme of love can exist without verbal communication. This is first shown when Allende writes, “They [The Captain and Eloisa] had not missed a step once in forty years; they moved with the precision of a couple used to making love and sleeping in a close embrace. This was what made it so difficult to believe that they had never exchanged a single word (Allende 271).” The concept that two people never even attempted or were successful in talking for forty years is simple unbelievable and highly fantastical, thus showing magical realism. However, the idea of not speaking for forty years when coupled with the ending, “El Capitan took the hand of the gentle lady he had wordlessly loved for so many years and walked with her to the center of the room (275),” show that love existed between the two for so many years while not a single word was said.

Also, when Allende states, “El Capitan danced on as nina Eloisa turned to lace, to froth, to mist, until she was but a shadow, then, finally, nothing but air, and he found himself whirling, whirling, with empty arms, his only companion a faint aroma of chocolate (275).” While not delved into, the idea that someone can disappear is magical realism but also shows the theme in that a lover can be gone and love can still exist, as long as the memory exists such as when Allende states, “he [the tenor] realized that with the last note the captain would wake from his reverie and the memory of nina Eloisa would disappear forever (276).”

Not being able to speak and nina Eloisa disappearing are magical realism examples that demonstrate the theme of love existing without verbal communication.

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