The book “ The Tree of Red Stars” written by Tessa Bridal, gives historical account of the political turmoil and social conditions that existed in Uruguay in the 1960’s. The story is about love and ideals under siege and begins with an autobiographical landscape and reaches into fiction and history. The author was herself born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay and as a young girl; she had witnessed the gradual power shift in her country into the hands of the military. Her novel is a tender story of love and friendship and terrifying, personal look at Uruguay and the turmoil that existed there in the 60’s. During the course of the story, Bridal has used the Rio-de La Plata and the old poinsettia tree, estrella federal to depict tone, ideas and events at various points in the story.
The story begins with the narrator Magda returning to Uruguay from Europe, where she had spent seven years in exile. As her plane approaches Montevideo’s airport, she sees majestic Rio-de La Plata, which brings back to her happy memories of her childhood: “One hundred twenty miles wide, the river resembled the Atlantic ocean with which it merged at its widest point. I had walked its shores, loved its changing colors, and been buffeted by its waves all my growing-up years. My family’s ties with the river were strong. My grandfather had once owned a hotel on the beaches of Montevideo, and its foundation could still be seen in the sand.(6)” Further ahead, as Magda drives down the coastal road, she feels as if the water of the Rio de la Plata, were welcoming her arrival: “We drove along the coastal road; our view unimpeded… I put my head out of the window of Emilia’s Volkswagen and breathed the cool air, sensing welcome in the Rio de la Plata’s pale blue waters.(7)” Magda had always admired the Rio, in spite of its turbulent nature. The following excerpt best describes this: “I longed for my own river, that changeable, friendly giant. The Rio de la Plata was moody, rough, gentle, and wild, and to me, always beautiful. The river rejected unwanted offerings harbored life, and took it. (4)” The political situation in Uruguay was volatile and was to go out of control in a matter of time. This was much similar to the Rio de la Plata’s nature, which in Magda’s own words was “moody, rough, gentle and wild.”
Huckleberry Finn… this is the very name that can sound familiar to almost everybody from pupils in elementary school through students at university to elderly grandparents. But the more astonishing is that the characters, the flow of events and the bunch of themes,symbols and motifs included mean for everybody something absolutely different. Till for an 11- year- old little boy it provides a real ...
During her childhood, the majority of Magda’s time was spent around the old poinsettia tree that grew in her neighborhood. She seems to have had high regard for the tree: “In summer, the pale green leaves cast refreshing shadows on my skin; in winter, the brilliant red flowers nodded in the wind, like a hundred small fires holding the cold at bay. (11)” The poinsettia tree or estrella federal as it was called symbolizes the happiness in Magda’s childhood when she used to play with Emilia in their neighborhood. It seemed as if the tree was safe haven for Magda and Emilia as their days were spent playing around it. This can be best described by many extracts from the text, which involve the tree: “Emilia and I had discovered that by climbing the estrella federal we could reach the balcony(40)…We closed the book hastily and were about to climb back to the shelter of the poinsettia tree when my …(41)”
Further ahead in the story, when Magda has an affair with Jaime, the Rio-de- La Plata is mentioned again as the couple walk by its side: “We walked out and crossed the wide Rambla onto the beach. The river glistened in the moonlight with a cold, unfriendly glow. I had never seen it look so uninviting. (136)” Thus, the Rio seems to symbolize the conflict going on within Magda’s mind with respect to her relationship with Jaime. Magda was also attracted to Marco, even during her affair with Jaime, and missed his presence dearly: “I missed him so profoundly that I would simply sit under the estrella federal and stare at his house hoping that he would magically appear. (140)”
In the novel "A Separate Peace," by John Knowles there are two main characters, Finny and Gene. They are complete opposites of each other yet they still are best friends. For example, Finny is very athletic and invented his own game called "blitz ball." Moreover, he is a leader and a risk taker. In addition, Finny is the founder of the Suicide Club, which portrays his leadership. In the novel, ...
As the story moves on a point comes when Jaime challenged by his senior officer, Captain Prego to a duel. On the night of the duel, when Magda runs down to the lace where the duel was actually taking place, she is met by an extremely violent Rio-de La Plata: “I ran to the river, dark that night and storm, rollers lapping the shore in brown swirls. (197)” Thus, it seems that the nature of the river that night symbolizes a huge upheaval in Magda’s life and this is proven right when Jaime is killed in the duel. From this moment on, Magda’s life changed forever. She soon finds herself studying in the university where she meets Ramiro, Cora’s husband. Ramiro and Cora were a part of the Tupamaros, the rebels who were trying to bring about a political change against the existing government. Soon Magda becomes a tupa and engages in their activities, before being arrested and sent to prison.
At the end of the story when Magda is reunited with Marco, the Rio del la Plata comes to symbolize their eternal love: “The kind of love the heels…..The river was green that evening, translucent and pale as beautiful almost as Marco’s smile, (283)” as if their reunion had wasted away the years of separation which were so filled with pain and agony.
After a close analysis, one can safely conclude that the author Tessa Bridal has symbolized nature in the form of the Rio de la Plata and the estrella federal to represent the course of events in the story and convey emotion and ideas. The author needs to be complemented for her precise use of the two objects to illustrate the happenings in the course of the novel. A famous quote by Hannah Arendt, in The Human Condition 1958
“The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.”