Term Paper, 2004, 14 Pages
II The image of the dove in La Plaça del Diamante
2.1. Society of those days
2.2. Quimet as a part of the society
2.3 The metaphor of the dove in connection with Quimet and the society
2.4. The significance of the doves for Natalia
Thesis: The dove is a symbol for the society at the end of the 19th century. It serves to present the expectations society had in regard to women.
In the beginning I thought that the doves reflect the development of Natalia. But later I got the impression that the doves might also be the release for her development. Thinking further I came to realise that it also were not the doves alone which had the impact on her, but that it was Quimet behind them, in the way that he had brought the doves into their home. And then I thought it could not be Quimet alone either, but that it must be society which actually was the responsible power, as Quimet was only a part of it. Therefore I wanted to know how the common opinion was concerning the role of man and women at the time the novel is playing, to be able to understand the reasons Quimet has for imposing the role of “Colometa” on Natalia.
I have structured my term paper as follows: the first part is about the society at the end of the 19th century. The second part concentrates on Quimet by looking at his behaviour and statements in regard to the common patterns of those days. In the third part I connect the expectations of society and Quimet with the metaphorical significance of the doves. In the fourth part I want to show the impact these expectations have on Natalia. Hereby, I want to concentrate on the doves by distinguishing three different levels. The first level is the simple physical presents of the doves in the novel. The second level is the metaphorical meaning of the doves in regard to Natalia, and the third level is about the impact the doves have on Natalia’s psyche by their physical existence as well as their metaphorical significance.
At the end of the 19th century the live of the women in Spain was very patriarchal. This can be shown by the quotations of the so called “Sección Feminina” published in 1954. They say that “Cada una de vosotros tiene que ser alegre, modesta y culta y amable, y eso basta para heceros respecter de vuestro amigos, camarades y admiradores”. They further say that a woman had to be “muy mujer, muy bella, muy atractive, muy digna, muy culta, muy fuerte y, sobre todo, muy piadosa”.
These quotations give an impression on how the social expectations on women were at that time. Being a woman was something very submissive. There was hardly a chance for a woman to develop a strong character and to become a self-confident person. From a woman it was expected to serve her husband and to obey him in every way. There was no chance of expressing (or developing?) her own thoughts. These social expectations can be due to a Catholic ideology: A good Christian was a good wife and thus a friend of God. In this sense serving her husband by working at home was serving God. Additionally, nouns which described men were action, intelligence, and working for society and in public life. Nouns for a woman were passivity, feeling, fragility, and her duties were in the kitchen.
The relationship between men and women at that time is also expressed in the novel by the speech of the priest on the wedding of Quimet and Natalia. As we are told by Natalia it is the following:
“Habló de Adán y Eva, de la manzana y de la serpiente, y dijo que la mujer estaba hecha de una costilla del hombre y que Adán se la encontró dormida a su lado sin que Nuestro Señor la hubiese prerarado para la sorpesa” (p.39).
Here we get the old picture of the woman Eva being created out of the rip of Adam and the common conclusion that the woman is a part of the man and thus dependent on him.
In this way we can get an impression of the circumstances Natalia and Quimet lived in. It might help to understand why Quimet acts like he does in the novel. It might also help to understand the significance of the doves (I will focus on than in part 2.3).
Quimet is a child of the society mentioned above. He is convinced that he, as a man, is the stronger one and is obliged to decide over their (and, over all, her) life. That his conviction is based on religious believes becomes clear through the following quotation:
“porque para algo era ebanista y que él era como si fuese San José y que yo era como si fuerse la Virgen” (p.16).
Additionally, he thinks that a woman has to be obedient to her husband which becomes clear through the following quotation:
“ me dijo que si quería ser su mujer tenía que empezar por encontrar bien todo lo que él encontraba bien”, (p.15).
This means that Natalia is not allowed to have her own opinion or thoughts, what is based on the common conviction that women have no proper intelligence and are therefore inferior to men.
All these examples serve to underline the fact that Quimet is a member of the society mentioned above. It might therefore be understandable why he tries to impose the role of the “good wife” on Natalia (I will focus on that in point IV).
 I will come later to what is meant by this role
 C.Werner. Convivencia social. Formación familiar y social. Madrid: Ediciones de la Sección Feminina y de las JONES, 1954, 118
 O. Reina. Experiencias de educación. Madrid: Ed. Raifo, 1939, 23
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