Cassie Essary Tim Petete Ethnic American Literature November 12, 2009 Angel’s Psyche in Ester Lucero One of the most fascinating aspects of any story is the formation of it’scharacters. The way the author chooses to describe them, give them personalities, is how the reader will see their lives. A character’s psyche and the way he thinks about events around him change the way a reader perceives the story. Authors have an amazing chance to shape and bend a story to fit what they want it to be through the characterization of the people they write about.
If an author is incapable of making characters believable and understandable, the story won’t survive. In Isabel Allende’s “Ester Lucero”, Angel is described in a way that makes the reader understand his impulses and desires, even if they areof a completely foreign nature to the reader. Allende is an extremely skilled writer that used her ability to make a character believable to her advantage for this story. Angel’s psyche is one of the most interesting elements of this story. When he returns from the war in the jungle, he seems to be in a state of inner turmoil.
He’s searching for something to help him deal with the war and the things that he did and saw happen there. When Angel sees Ester Lucero for the first time, he believes that he is seeing a mirage. Nothing could possibly be that perfect, and he has to search her out. When he finally finds her, he is “shamed by his unseemly passion for a child who still had not reached puberty” (Pearson 10) as she is 12 and he is 30. Angel gives the impression that he picked Ester as the object of his interest because she is unavailable, therefore he never has to worry about what might happen if he did somehow attain her.
Although he is attracted to her, he never makes a move to do anything about it, other than “watching her walk by on her way to school; attending her when she caught the measles; providing her with vitamins…;teaching…the multiplication tables” (Pearson 10). The simple fact that he is “dumbfounded not to find a whirl of suitors around Ester Lucero” (Pearson 10) leads the reader to believe that Ester is really not that special or beautiful, but is only special to Angel. Instead, Angel seems to have fixated on Ester as a way of getting past his ownproblems. Ester became something that he desperately wanted, but could never allow himself to have.
She was a child, and he would not allow himself to touch her for that reason, and because his obsession with her is what keeps him going. Ester became the focus of all his attention so he didn’t have to deal with anything else in his life. Another issue with Angel is the fact that he has a bullet in his groin. The women of the town question his masculinity and begin to wonder if “maybe the malaria or that bullet he has there in his crotch rid him forever of a taste for women” (Pearson 10). They don’t realize that he has become completely engrossed with Ester and therefore uninterested in the other women of the town.
Since Angel does have a bullet in his groin, and purposefully chose an unavailable girl to fixate on, it makes the reader wonder if the bullet did cause some sort of dysfunction. Perhaps the reason that Angel deliberately chose a girl that he could never have was because he knew women wouldn’t want him if they knew that he was impotent. Early on, when it is Angel’s turn with a “bride-for-the-moment” he “found no consolation …he would have to search for that girl, if for no other reason than to determine whether she was a mirage”(Pearson 9).
This passage leaves the reader hanging as to whether Angel was unable to perform, or simply didn’t enjoy it. Angel’s masculinity is questioned by the people of the town, as well as himself throughout the story. The four main aspects of Angel’s psyche discussed here really help tell the story of whoand what Angel really is. Ester as a distraction from his own problems shows us that even though Angel is an extremely capable man, he can’t get past his own demons.
He’s a doctor and a combat veteran, yet when he sees a little girl in the crowd, he chooses her to think about in order to avoid his own problems. The magical realism displayed in this story is a stroke of genius by Allende. She uses the herbs to add an element of suspense and terror to the story that wouldn’t have been present otherwise. The herbs and dance enable Angel to save Ester while dealing with some of his own problems at the same time. When the town women begin to question Angel’s masculinity, he does a sort of tailspin into the next main point in his psyche, which is obsessive love.
He could probably choose any woman in the town, yet he chooses a 12 year old girl, and the love is not exactly pure. Angel’s obsessive love ties all four points together nicely. The love he has for Ester is not pure, but obsessive. He chose her because he needed a way to get out of his own head, and perhaps because he is impotent and couldn’t deal with the threat to his masculinity, and when he cured her, Angel really just needed a way to outwardly express his capability of taking care of her, even if he could never have her. Works Cited
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