Latin American Short Stories

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A Tale of "Two Words"

Have you ever read a story where the theme is not really apparent, or it is hidden in a cryptic passage of text? The short story, "Two words" by Isabel Allende is a story that is unclear in many aspects. There is a message that comes across when you look close at the text as if you would need a magnifying glass to see the hidden theme. The theme is seen in the story when you look at the idea that a whole heart will bloom like a flower while a half-heart will only wilt. This analogy, referring to the life cycles of a flower, illustrates the idea that a person cannot always be judged by their looks, but by their heart. You must look deep at someone's heart and see the true essence of their being. In the story, a man who is regarded as a brute that will never fall in love falls in love with a mystical woman who later finds him to be a helpless romantic.

The theme of looking at a person's heart is seen throughout the book many times. Allende accomplishes this task of making the reader looking at a person's heart. The first example of not judging a character by their body is when the main character is introduced. The main character is said to have had make a living by selling words - "She made her living selling words."(Allende, 39) Later on in the story it goes onto say that she works by traveling to other villages selling words and selling phrases. Many think she is dishonest… selling words to innocent people. Although the author tells soon after that the main character, Belisa Crepusculario is an honest woman, trying to make an honest living. The author uses Belisa's career to illustrate the fact that Belisa is a good woman, and that she is passionate about everything she does, Belisa puts her whole heart into her work and she does not try to cheat people thus showing that Belisa has a whole heart.

In a conversation would the phrase "collective deceit" normally be said (Allende, 40)? What about "She gave the gift of a secret word...
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