Thus his comment to Arístides, «No, yo no te mando a la cárcel, Te propuse que te impusieras tú mismo esa pena infamante, como expiación de tus delitos» (1504), is especially hypocritical.
To an extent the Babeles, whose freedom is restricted severely by their material poverty, represent the other side of this wealth-freedom coin. The major parallel between the Babel family and Ángel is their intense, although ultimately futile, intellectual creativity. This creativity ranges from Catalina's raving about her aristocratic lineage, to Simón's unscrupulous business dealings, to Pito's drunken visions, to Arístides' and Fausto's money-making schemes. Although these «creations» are different among themselves and quite distinct from Ángel's revolutionary and religious plans, they are all similar in that they are projections which serve to mediate the various characters' inconformity with reality without really attacking that reality. Thus Fausto is unwilling to seek employment in a workshop since he wants «independencia, libertad, iniciativa» (1289), just as Ángel will not accept the role society would have him play because of his desire for independence. And in spite oi his recognition of the unequal distribution of the wealth, Fausto trusts in his own ingenuity rather than in the strength of the unity of the oppressed to solve this problem, at least as far as he is concerned.
The result however, is the opposite. Rather than enhancing Ángel's saintly pretensions, the shift to Toledo weakens them since, by reducing the conflict between interiority and exteriority, it further decreases the amount of sacrifice he must endure. Thus everything seems to be disposed to his following a religious vocation except his own character. Setting the bulk of the novel in Toledo is not propitious to the study of evangelical charity in terms of the modern world, precisely because Toledo is not representative of the modern world. With the temporal conflict: reduced, the relation between the authorial subject and his content is to0 facile and, consequently, unconvincing.
Nazarín and Halma show a similar flaw. There Galdós strives to achieve a separation from modern society by way of a physical escape, and both of these efforts fail.
The Theory of the Novel, trans. Anna Bostock, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT, 1971), p. 80.
Ibid., p. 80.
Véase Denah Lida, «Galdós, entre crónica y novela», Anales Galdosianos, Año VIII, 1973, pág. 62.