Dead Stars-Paz Marquez Benitez

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Alfredo Salazar - son of Don Julian, a more than 30 years old man and a bachelor. He is engaged to Esperanza but him still fleeting to Julia Salas

Esperanza - wife of Alfredo Salazar. She is a homely woman, literal minded and intensely acquisitive. She is one of those fortunate women who have the gift of uniformly beauty

Julia Salas - sister-in-law of Judge Del Valle. She is the other girl of Alfredo Salazar that remains single in her entire life

Don Julian - an old man, a father of Alfredo Salazar and Carmen.</p><p>\ Carmen - sister of Alfredo Salas

Judge Del Valle - brother-in-law of Julia Salas

Donna Adella - sister of Julia Salas. She is small and plump, a pretty woman with a complexion of a baby with a expression of a likeable cow

Calixta - note-carrier of Alfredo Salazar and Esperanza

Dionisio - husband of Donna Adella.

Vicente - husband of Carmen

Brigida Samuy - She is the illusive woman whose Alfredo is looking for.

Paz Marquez-Benitez, in her masterpiece Dead Stars, did not only write about a love story. Most importantly, her writing reflects the time in which the literary work was written along with the language, the norms and the way people think. It serves as a literary time machine for readers as it enables them to understand how courtship, marriage and fidelity were viewed through the early 1900 standards. It renders a sound comparison between the past and the present, the existing modern culture and the fading, almost obsolete tradition. Although the comparison and contrast provides a good critical foundation, another highly significant aspect of this short story involves the main character, Alfredo Salazar, which, always applies to whatever era, hence the focus of this paper. His confusion, weakness and unreasonableness are innate flaws of humans. Perhaps one of the many reasons why this work is timeless is that readers never fail to see a part of them in Alfredo Salazar’s character, making the short story a rich source of serious ruminations on society, love and humanity.

People oftentimes give high regard to the society in which they belong. They try to adhere to the norms, traditions and culture of their society, though sometimes the conformity would require them to sacrifice a part of themselves – an opinion, an emotion or a decision. However, there are cases wherein the established norms and rules of society are the ones which should prevail. In Dead Stars, the main character, Alfredo Salazar, was torn between making two important decisions – to marry or not to marry. But just like other dilemmas, the crossroad in which he found himself in was not to be solved without harming anyone. He was engaged to Esperanza, his fiancée of four years. Theirs was undoubtedly a love that was true. But for some reasons, apparently on Alfredo’s part, a change of heart has taken place. He has fallen for Julia Salas, the sister-in-law of the judge whom his father had a meeting with. After spending several afternoons and conversations, he found himself slowly getting attached to her that he started losing concern for Esperanza. In the end, however, he married his fiancée and though their marriage was not an unhappy one, he still could not take the possibilities of a future with Julia off his mind. Until one day, their paths crossed again and he realized one painful truth that led him to liberation at last.

Human emotions are very intricate and delicate both at its lowest and highest. And so is love. When Alfredo was still passionately attached to Esperanza, he was overwhelmed. Taking the conversation of Alfredo’s sister, Carmen, and his father, Don Julian into consideration, readers can deliberately conclude that he was indeed in love. . . . “Papa, do you remember how much in love he was?”

“In love? With whom?”

“With Esperanza of course. He has not had another love affair that I know of,” she said with good-natured contempt. “What I mean is that in the...
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