Analyze the relationship between the evolution of protagonist and the city of Barcelona in the novel "In Diamond Square" by Merce Rodoreda’s
In Diamond Square is an acclaimed and classic story of a woman caught up with her children in Barcelona civil war. She struggles in a convulsive period to feed her family as her husband fights the fascist. The novel is set during the Spanish civil war and the second Spanish republic. It is set in Barcelona and pictures Joe and Natalia all struggling to make end meet. It as well pictures Natalia’s conflictive life giving a blend of naturalism and psycholism. It is early 1930s in Barcelona, when a young and pretty lady selling in a kiosk is undecided, when a stranger (Joe) asks her for a dance (Merce, 26). Nevertheless, Joe’s charming nature and attractiveness wins her over and soon they get married and give birth to two children-a son and a daughter. In Diamond Square is also translated as the times of the doves or the Pigeon Girl. In Diamond Square is the Catalan language version. Written by Merce Rodoreda’s, a Catalan writer, the book is noted by great use of Stream of consciousness and has been translated to over twenty languages (Merce,15). Stream Consciousness refers to a narrative mode that depicts the multitudinous of feelings and thoughts in the character. It can as well be referred to as the interior monologue. It is an effort to give an equivalent of the character’s thought process. Through employing different techniques and narrative strategies, Merce achieves an overall effect in the novel. Some of the different strategies used in the book include symbolism, metaphor, irony as well as interior monologue. On the other hand,Merce uses interior monologue to draw the conflicting mind of Natalia. The style also acts as a portrait of how ordinary or poor people cope in cases of civil crisis. In Natalia’s voice, the author describes all details about Natalia. That is, her home, her place of work, and not forgetting the dreadful experiences she undergoes. Later on, Natalia infuriates when Joe decides to breed pigeons. On the other hand, the pigeon delights her son and daughter! The interior monologue style helps us to understand more about Natalia’s misfortunes. It is important to note that Natalia is used to represent the plight of the poor and people affected by the Spanish civil war. Lastly, the style helps us understand the stream of thoughts going in Natalia’s mind. At the beginning of the book, Merce Rodoreda’s draws Joe as a good-looking and confident Man. Later on, it becomes clear that the above definitions are full of satire (Merce,45). His actions and definitions later on in the book bring humor and give a different picture about Joe. Although Joe wins Natalia’s heart, he drives her to desperate measures. Natalia has to share the dilapidated apartment with the smelly and noisy pigeons. In addition to that, both the children and Natalia are exposed to countless disease transmitted by pigeons. It starts as a single wounded pigeon that Joe finds on the street. However, with time Joe bring more and more pigeons in the house! This makes life more difficult for Natalia. Joe does this on purpose to force Natalia to claim her part of the inheritance from her parents. Merce pictures Joe as a lazy man who is not in a position to run his carpentry business at a profit. The author make fun of his pigeon business which Joe started to “earn more revenue” Not only is Joe unable to feed and provide for his family but also make Natalia feel inadequate by constantly referring to his former girlfriend. She (Merce) brings forth some irony when introducing Natalia. “Natalia was a shop attendant with a fiancé and living in a working class quarter in Barcelona." Later on the author says, “The noise, smell and dirt of the pigeon, every time she had to go into the loft space” Did Natalia move from bad to worse? Natalia moved from her comfortable apartment into the dilapidated apartment after marrying Joe (Merce,77). She as well closes down her business and breaks all the eggs calling it a new revolution which put her in a more miserable condition. The choices that Natalia makes lead her from one trap to another! Her marriage to Joe makes her close her business and later on lose her job in the house she worked. It is also ironical that Joe goes to fight the Fascist while he cannot feed his family or run his carpentry venture at a profit. It is interesting to note that Natalia boss fires her citing that “we do not need the services of wife of a trouble maker” Lastly, it is also ironical that both Joe and the children are delighted by the foul smelling birds all staying in a dilapidated apartment. They are neither worried of the dirt nor the diseases that the pigeons would bring. Symbolism is another style which has been employed to illustrate all the happening in the war torn country and Natalia’s family. Do the pigeons symbolize anything? The author draws Joe as a man who loved his pigeons and family-he takes a wounded pigeon from the street and nurses it .However, later on in the book; the pigeons flew away when nobody came to feed them. This can be viewed both as an element of foreshadowing and symbolism. Likewise his wife Natalia silently flew away to another man when Joe fails to take care of his family (Merce,96). Natalia finds herself in a love puzzle lost between two men. The pigeons can be used to symbolize Joe’s children and wife. In the future they would fly away just like the pigeons if Joe fails to feed and provide for their needs. Metaphor usage also makes the novel beautiful and more alluring. ‘..Feeling like they were very long and ended in hell’these are Natalia’s words as she goes down the stairs to buy hydrochloric acid to kill her children- luckily she changes her mind. She compares her situation and stairs to hell-full of suffering. When Natalia fist kisses his fiancé,’ Lord appears in a cloud trying to reach out with long arms. Was the lord trying to save her from the ordeal she would encounter in the hands of her fiancé? In addition to that, the book entails seduction as a form of style. Natalia is accosted at a street party by Joe, who later marries Natalia. It is interesting to note how the author defines Joe; she calls him a jealous caprice with suspicion of a devil, bout of rage and monkey’s eyes-a demonic look. Her definition not only draws humor but suspense from the readers, we all want to know what will go on between Natalia and the “monkey’s eye” Why did the author use Pigeons in the Novel? Unlike a dove which symbolizes peace, pigeon shits on statues and spread diseases. The pigeons form the emblem of the book. It is from the pigeons. On the other hand, the pigeon seems to describe Joe character. Joe is described as an attractive man just like the beautiful winged creatures. However, away from the beauty both the pigeons and Joe have a negative impact on Natalia life. They harm, hurt her and leave her to suffer and provide for her family alone. Still on the pigeons, the flying away of the birds can be used to denote something else, flying away of all Natalia’s problem or the end the civil war that led to spread of diseases. This style is used to restore peace and hope in Natalia’s mind as well as that of her children. Lastly, Merce draws the dilapidated apartments both as a home and an apartment. It is in the same apartment that Natalia gave birth to her son and still the same apartment that she wants to pour acid on her children to end their suffering. It is the same apartment that she spent nights with her husband but still the same apartment where she faced all nightmares during the civil war period. At the end of the book, her children inherit their father’s trait. Her son dances with Fascist uniform while her daughter has the monkey eyes. The use of monkey’s eyes employs the extraordinarily fictional effect style. As the story comes to an end, the reader is left wondering of what will come of the two siblings. Then, the son joins the fascist which his father is fighting against while her daughter inherits her father physical appearances (Merce,154). The son, Anthony is also used to satirize his father. Through joining a protagonist movement, the author clearly draws the enemity between the son and the father. The author draws Joe as a man who is not in a position to make the right decision-his son is in a better position than him. Conclusion
In conclusion, it is evident that Diamond Square is a unique piece of literature work. What makes it unique is how the author maneuvers from a simple love story to family issues and lastly to the civil war. The author successfully portrays Natalia as a strong hearted woman who overcame the civil war. In Diamond is one of the best works of Merce. In addition to that, it is widely used in secondary schools curriculum. This can also be attributed to its rich content and use of many styles such as the mono dialogue, metaphor and symbolism. As Natalia’s son dances with his uniform, it indicates that all the problems are coming to an end and all people can once again smile. Besides, Natalia stands out as a heroine who stood by her children and fed them during the civil crashes. Even without the help of her husband, he managed to feed and protect her children.
Rodoreda, Mercè. In Diamond Square. Print.