An act of revenge or no?
“ON THAT GLORIUS NOONDAY when Dulce Rosa Orellano was crowned with jasmines of Carnival Queen, the mothers of the other candidates murmured that it was unfair for her to win just because she was the only daughter of the most powerful man in the entire province, Senator Anselmo Orellano” (Charters, 2011, p.42). This first paragraph of the passage as well as the title of the story leads the reader to prepare for some sort of battle. The story goes on to discuss how her looks were not the cutest but because she was talented in playing the piano and had the ability to dance well it compensated for her attractiveness. The story went on to discuss how many men from other villages came out to meet her at the dance (this is where she was crowned). Once they returned to their village make believe stories of her beauty were discussed such like the game of telephone where each time it was transferred to another they added on to the tale. With all of the envy and commotion will something happen to her father and with her being the only child and a female instead of a male will she be capable of retaliating against the wrong done to her family or no?
While the stories continued to circulate they reached a gentleman by the name Tadeo Cespedes. Cespedes within the story was a man (a crusader) who only had one thing on his mind and it was the Civil War (43). Since his mind was so clouded with the Civil War he had time to neither look at ladies nor read. In Allende’s further description of Tadeo Cespedes she went on to discuss how his shaving tool made him realize he had a weapon at hand and how his entire life revolved around hearing shots (the mention of gunpowder) (43). On the mention of, “He had forgotten his mother’s kisses and even the songs of mass” (43) this further makes the reader aware that perhaps his mother lost her life within all of the violence he witnessed and the mention of the songs of mass signals religion. Tadeo was so mesmerized with battle and violence that he managed to engage war and or battle be the opponents real or make believe. Following the victory of now becoming a powerful man with the winning of the Presidential Election (43) this now allotted him time to make his way to the Santa Teresa to meet Dulce Rosa and conquer Senator Anselmo Orellano and his men.
Tadeo and his army began their journey to Santa Teresa and once he and his men arrived they left victorious, as they had done many other times. He and his man killed everyone in their path even animals and one the Senator realized it would soon be his turn he went to his daughter. Upon reaching her with thoughts of killing her, she begged for mercy with the promise of avenging him and he spared her but Tadeo took his life. With the victory over Senator Orellano he gained an additional prize, which was Dulce Rosa, the heir to the Senator. Tadeo engaged in sex with the young Dulce Rosa and upon completion fled the villa to return home. Time progressed and both Dulce Rosa and Tadeo had gone on with their life. As the story progressed, is Dolce Rosa really avenging her father’s death or her own independent character, as she found herself unable to carry out her “perfect” plan of vengeance? Does she really get her revenge in the end? Would this be what her father would have wanted? Was this an act of revenge or no?
Following the reading of the story Allende provides a great tale of a Senator and he only had a daughter Dulce Rosa to act as the heir to his palace. “ Don’t kill me father, let me live so that I can avenge us both” (44). Once reading this quote, I found Dulce Rosa to be heroic to speak the words as a woman that would normally be heard from a man. I also found her to be strong for not showing severe weakness following her nonconsensual sexual encounter with Tadeo. Following the rape Dulce Rosa went to clean herself off from the bloodshed by her father and her tears she returned to the villa. Parties and functioned continued and some even suggested that Dulce Rosa move away and she chose to stay to avenge the death of her father and the wrong doings done to her. On the other hand Tadeo Cespedes, had now become Mayor and despite the power his new title/position held he could not dwell in it because he was continuously being haunted by his sexual relations with Dolce Rosa. It was interesting how Tadeo now unlike early on in the story was ready to love and was unable to because the consequences from his earlier actions haunted him. I felt as if Dulce Rosa’s act of revenge began geared toward both her father and her own personal character, but with the passing of time it focused on her own independent character. This was my thought because it seemed as if once he (Tadeo) came back before her presence with all the time that had gone by she would have felt the rush of revenge to be overwhelming. Instead of rage it seemed as if she reminisced about the embracing during the sexual act. I gathered this thought from page 46 when Allende spoke on how once looking into his eyes she could only see his tears and no sign of being the killer he was when her father and his men were killed. At the end of the story I think the answer to the question of her getting the revenge that her father would have wanted is kind of a catch 22. I would say perhaps death would have been her father’s wishes because of what he suffered. Allende paints the illusion that Cespedes and Dulce Rosa will live happily ever after when she speaks on both Dolce Rosa and Tadeo and how their conversations no longer focused on the turmoil but the love they had for one another. Allende then incorporates the ghost of her father that haunted her as her spirit had haunted Tadeo, which reinforced that her father may have expected death. Allende went on to discuss how Dulce Rosa caused Cepedes to think more about his wrongs by returning to the room where not only the violations occurred but where the passion began as well. Turning the tables I think Dolce Rosa’s father would have been honored at the courageous acts his daughter portrayed. Following all of the deaths, which happened at the Villa once she regrouped and cleaned herself up she, returned to bury her father and then eventually rebuilt the Villa and because she would not leave her neighbors had given her dogs to protect her. Another act of courage was as mentioned earlier when she and Tadeo realized their love was stronger than the hate. They continued to spend time together and realized they had such a great love that they would marry. The ultimate sign of courage I think was when days before their wedding was to happen she returned to where it all began in the room on the third patio. Tadeo looked for her and the barking from her protectors led him to her. Once he arrived with help the door was destroyed and once he entered, “ He found Dulce Rosa Orrellano just as he had seen her in his dreams every night of his existence, lying motionless in the same bloody organdy dress. He realized that in order to pay for his guilt he would have to live until he was ninety with the memory of the only woman his soul could ever love” (47). This was how Allende ended the story and it was the final sign needed to show that even though revenge was not returned in death it was returned with suffering from actions he committed earlier on in his life. An Act of Vengeance created a number of messages. Some of the messages included how fighting in wars could harden a persons character and this was witnessed through Tadeo, survival of the fittest which was demonstrated with Tadeo being obsessed with fighting and conquering with the shaving tool reminding him daily as with the sounds of shots daily. This can also include Dulce Rosa and how after the death of her father in their Villa she rebuilt it and continued to maintain daily until she reunited with the killer (Tadeo). Taking responsibility for your actions, this again was demonstrated with Tadeo and how once he became Mayor and no longer had to struggle he had to answer for the wrong doings (the death of Senator Anselmo Orellano and the rape of Dulce Rosa) he caused in order to be happy although the list of messages could go on the last message discussed will be ending the cycle of violence through death. The death cycle was ended when instead of killing Tadeo Cespedes Dulce Rosa reintroduced him to how and where it all began and his form of punishment was torture and suffering (from his thoughts). Depending on who is asked as for myself when asked to analyze Dulce Rosa’s revenge and was it would her father would have wanted my reply would be yes she received revenge and her father would be proud of how his daughter avenged his death.
Allende, I. (1990). “An Act of Vengeance.” In Charters, A. (2011). The Story and Its Writer An
Introduction to Short Fiction (8th ed., pp – 42- 47). Boston MA: Bedford/ St. Martin’s.