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ArribaAbajoLa de Bringas and the Politics of Domestic Power

Lou Charnon-Deutsch

The individual kinship role assigned to the Galdosian female personage places very powerful and specific constraints on her activities and conduct, often serving to shape or define her character, and providing the story with tension and drama as she either accepts or rejects the behavior specific to her role. Stability often means guarding the appearances proper to her given role, and minding that her role be properly defined and recognized by what she or others say and do. That is why, when calculating the consequences of and individual act, the Galdosian heroine (more so than her male counterpart) will take into consideration both the social rank and the sympathetic disposition of witnesses, as well as any temporary role playing necessary for her purposes. Galdós was scarcely more daring than his contemporaries when it came to conventional female role modeling in his novels, although within each role group his women are strikingly varied and multidimensional. The source of her strength and power -which are sometimes considerable- is not role specific but rather derives from her generally keen ambition to increase the worth and stature of her family, whether through the acquisition of money and goods, culture, education or breeding, or kinship relationships with socially superior families. The home, the market and the church (and points in-between) comprise the loci of female activity and determine to a large degree a woman's sphere of influence which may be, however, considerably enhanced by interaction with a regular group of house guests or tertulianos, or the powerful men over whom certain women occasionally exert themselves. The world that lies beyond woman's traditional domain is unmistakingly the province of the male, and Galdós often shows how woman who invades it opens herself to the scorn, not only of the men who rightly inhabit it and define its perimeters, but other women who interpret her movements as encroachments on a role that is a taboo. One would expect that in the sanctioned domains women occupy, especially the house where most of her time is spent, the opposite phenomenon would be the case, that her power would hold sway, but this is often not the case. Many important family decisions, those regarding the economy of the family unit or its membership, and the education and rearing of its individual members, fall to the male as a right and to the female only as a privilege conceded her by a husband, father or brother who delegates part of his authority and often lives to regret it. Fortunately, Galdós reveled in presenting women of striking character or rebellious nature. The object of this paper is to show how in La de Bringas, for example, the family's conventional division of power is most strikingly challenged and curiously resolved by one of the female personages.


We first see Rosalía Bringas, «La Pipaón», in Tormento, a general of domestic tyranny, although ostentatiously governed by her meeker spouse. In accordance with convictions of her family's worthiness, she firmly believes that her possessions have a secret, superior worth and that a close eye must be kept on the world of shopkeepers, poor relations and erstwhile friends who drain the family's finances. Francisco Bringas is portrayed as a sympathetic if eccentric benefactor, not above deceiving «la Pipaón» about the amount of money he gives on the sly to Amparo, his distant relative and the novel's protagonist. Yet, despite his deference and generosity, Bringas is sole keeper of what is ironically called the «tesoro público», and he is credited with keeping the family free from any manner of debt, large or small, through his assiduous bookkeeping and penny pinching. Although she has not the coveted position of dispenser, Rosalía is her husband's true partner in the economical management of the household, presumably from a sense of identification with his ideals, and it is left to her to devise ways to supplement the family budget by exploiting relationships with rich family members or friends, something she does with great scrupulosity and enthusiasm. But by novel's end she undergoes a radical change, one which elevates her to the rank of the truly obsessed Galdosian character worthy of a novel of her own: she acquires an unaccustomed and overwhelming taste for luxury and the trappings of higher social ranks than her own:

[...] veía montones de rasos, terciopelos, sedas, encajes, pieles, joyas sin fin, colores y gracias mil, los sombreros más elegantes, las últimas novedades parisienses, todo muy bien lucido en teatros, paseos, tertulias. Y esta grandiosa visión, estimulando dormidos apetitos de lujo, le marcaba el cerebro y hacía de ella otra mujer, la misma señora de Bringas retocada y adulterada, si bien consolándose de su falsificación con las ardientes borracheras del triunfo.90

This passage could serve equally well as the conclusion of Tormento's sequel, La de Bringas, in which Rosalía succumbs to her desire for luxury and, in the process, learns important lessons about virtue, self-esteem, avarice, greed, humiliation, friendship, power and freedom as they all relate to her deeds and misdeeds. This article, then, offers yet another reading of La de Bringas, one which attempts to show the novel's episodes as a lengthy process of initiation for its main character. Although for some her world seems completely out of whack by the end of the novel, I would like to show that Rosalía is, in fact, reaching for and gaining some measure of self-determination as she breaks away from her husband's tutelage and confronts the sordid world of which she previously had very little knowledge.

The fact that what occurs in the evolving relationship between the Bringas family members is concurrent with documented historical events of great magnitude must be taken into account in the analysis of the exchange of family role privileges and power. The close resemblance between the royal family and the Bringas family is not a coincidence; it constitutes a statement regarding the transferability of social values and behavior and the endemic nature of Spain's decadence. It makes every sense, then, to study the novel's characters, as Peter Bly91, William Shoemaker92, Ricardo Gullón93 and others have, from a socio-historical perspective94, or even from the economist's viewpoint as J. E. Varey95 and José Montesinos96 recommend, since   —67→   the acquisition of material goods is such a predominant preoccupation of the novel's main character97. But, as Ricardo Gullón points out, the desire for amassing goods proceeds from a will to possess power, resulting in a need to acquire power's symbols. I would argue that this pursuit of the trappings of power is more than a reflection of a national flaw. From the perspective of conventional family organization, the relationship between Francisco and Rosalía illustrates the ill-consequences of one family member's deliberate divestment of power. Rosalía's rebellion at the end of La de Bringas is no more unexpected than Spain's revolution, rather it is seen as the natural result of the transference of role-linked power. Critics might find it just as enlightening to study Spain's national crisis as a condition brought about by the reorganization of family structure in which a female is proportioned more power (which she subsequently abuses) than is usually associated with her role. But for my purposes, it is only necessary to study La de Bringas from the standpoint of the struggle for power and its consequences within a single family unit, since the quest for power is the key to understanding Rosalía's evolving kinship role98.

The first few chapters of La de Bringas abound with descriptions of Francisco's cenotaph, but the real subject is the artist's temperament, especially his weakness, not as an artist (although there is great irony in this regard as well) but as character who commands respect. If Francisco rises in our estimation by novel's end it is only because we perceive him as the antithesis of his wife's corrupt ideals. He is in every other respect an ineffectual human being whose refusal to see what is about him facilitates his wife's initiation into the world he ignores or rejects, the world excluded from the cenotaph's scene. Certainly the first descriptions of the man of the house do not lead us to suspect that his will could reign supreme in any family matters: «tartamudeó», «no sin emoción», «temblando», «balbuciente», «con espasmo de artista», «temblequeante», we guess before Rosalía is even introduced that something will be amiss in the way Bringas interacts with his family, that the strength of character associated with the male character has been abrogated or assigned elsewhere. Indeed, Francisco's obsequious and emotional character contrasts sharply with that of the imperious «Pipaón». Rosalía's flaws spread before us one by one, but all seem related to her rejection of the traditional model of submissive spouse which she recognizes but cannot pattern herself after. First, she is unable to recognize her husband as an authority in any manner; the only authority she bows to is that of the marquise of García Grande, her advisor in the art of fashionable dress. This is because she takes sensual pleasure in luxurious clothing but also because she knows instinctively that her only means of escaping the boredom and crassness of her existence with Francisco is by ascending the social ladder, or at least appearing to do so. For her purposes, she gains most by appearing to be less destitute than in fact she is, while her spouse takes care to do the opposite, to ward off freeloaders and opportunists by appearing to be penniless. Since Francisco is so unassuming and totally incapable of pretence, his authority over his wife's conduct is understandably slight: «Nadie en el mundo, ni aun Bringas, tenía sobre la Pipaón descendiente tan grande como Milagros. Aquella mujer, autoritaria y algo descortés con los iguales   —68→   e inferiores, se volvía tímida en presencia de su ídolo, que era también su maestro» (p. 57). The apple, then, that has seduced this Eve is the appetite for luxury she can no longer satisfy with the simple purchase of a new ribbon. She has lost forever her innocence, here equated with her resignation to poverty and wifely duty:

Aquel bendito Agustín había sido, generosamente y sin pensarlo, el corruptor de su prima; había sido la serpiente de buena fe que le metió en la cabeza las más peligrosas vanidades que pueden ahuecar el cerebro de una mujer. Los regalitos fueron la fruta cuya dulzura le quitó la inocencia, y por culpa de ellos un ángel con espada de raso me la echó de aquel Paraíso en que su Bringas la tenía sujeta.

(pp. 57-58)                

La de Bringas is the story of lost innocence, as so many novels about women are, but the meaning of Rosalía's innocence is redefined at various stages. As her sense and desire for power and freedom grow, she loses, one by one, such virtues as once she possessed which made her a fit spouse for the frugal, honest and sentimental Bringas. Deceit, Rosalía illustrates for us, has a way of permeating other daily activities once it becomes a means of satisfying a strong desire. Once Rosalía is given the opportunity to deceive her husband in trivial situations she cannot help but do so in more consequential ones, and once the deception occurs with the family funds, Rosalía seems driven to new heights of deceptive behavior which further erode her innocence. It is certainly true that Rosalía's passion for luxury brings her to this «terreno erizado de peligros», but the key to understanding her drive is not her love of finery so much as her desire for self-determination and, to some extent, power over others. From the beginning of the novel Rosalía bristles from a lack of a given power base. Her personal dilemma results from a recognition of the code which assigns her husband the right to control the family funds together with her conviction that she would make better use of them than he. On the one hand she is proud that Bringas knows how to keep the family free from debt and yet disgusted that he finds it necessary to amass money that is not immediately needed for the family's daily needs. But because she recognizes Bringas' right to control the flow of money, she does not stage an open rebellion, in fact, she would prefer to be obedient and her campaign to gain more control over the finances begins with straightforward appeals which fall on deaf ears. Her desire to dress the part which corresponds to her imagined dignity stems from a fear of social ridicule and an exalted sense of her personal worth. Thus, she rationalizes her eventual rebellion by representing Bringas as the obsessed and she, «deslucida y olvidada» as the proper guardian of the family's dignity:

Y no era ciertamente porque careciese de medios, pues Bringas tenía sus ahorros, reunidos cuarto a cuarto. ¿Y para qué? Para maldita la cosa, por el simple gusto de juntar monedas en un cajoncillo y contarlas y remirarlas de cuando en cuando... no sabía colocar a su mujer en el rango que por su posición correspondía a entrambos... llevaba cuenta y razón de todo, y hasta el perejil que se gastaba en la cocina se traslucía en guarismos en su libro de apuntes... y la minuciosidad de él en la cuenta y razón era tan extremada, que se veía y se deseaba para poder filtrar un día tres reales, otro dos y medio; y a veces, nada podía hacer.

(p. 82)                


What makes the rebellion difficult for Rosalía, and all the more scandalous, is the fact that Bringas has but this one fault, his obsession for saving money is his only flaw as a husband in Rosalía's eyes; in every other respect he is kind and gentle, honorable, faithful and submissive «como no le tocaran a sus presupuestos». She is not, as some would have her, a woman without principles, rather her moral sense is deficient and she is lacking in fortitude.

It is tempting to see the clothes Rosalía purchases as an end in themselves, but their importance does not diminish by seeing the activity of purchasing clothing as a primary distraction from the boredom of a too-ordered life over which she longs to exert some control. Buying more than wearing the clothes is the forbidden pleasure she most revels in. The evidence that clothes themselves mean no more to her than the power to purchase them is made quite clear by her willingness, at one point, to give up her clothes if by so doing she can preserve the secret of her purchasing them from her husband, thereby insuring the possibility of exercising this pleasure again at a future moment:

Antes que vender al economista el secreto de sus compras, que eran tal vez el principal hechizo de su vida sosa y rutinaria, optaba por hacer el sacrificio de sus galas, por arrancarse aquellos pedazos de su corazón, que se manifestaban en el mundo real en forma de telas, encajes y cintas, y arrojarlos a la voracidad de la prendera para que se los vendiese por poco más de nada. Heroísmo hacía falta, no lágrimas.

(pp. 94-95)                

Bringas' blindness is the veil that hides Rosalía's deception, which makes her part of the reality Bringas is so anxious to shut out as Gullón and Montesinos have shown. She may now buy and wear what she chooses, eat what she chooses, serve forbidden dinner guests forbidden dishes, and dress her children as she wishes, when she wishes. Having successfully convinced Bringas that a silk dress is nothing but a tattered house robe, and other minor deceptions, she is schooled enough, when the need arises because of her debts (or rather the mismanagement of her debts), to perform a truly profane deed, to open the box that symbolizes Bringas' stranglehold on the family's budget and apportion money to pay her debts. Her fear of discovery is nearly as acute os her fear of creditors, but both amount to the same thing: Rosalía would like the power to take, spend, replace, even lend and augment the family's money supply, but that power rightfully belongs to Bringas and, fearing his reaction to the discovery that his power has been secretly ursurped, she waits until it is openly turned over to her, or until discovery is improbable.

The moment comes during Francisco's long recovery from blindness. In a mood of rare generosity, Bringas expresses his desire to demonstrate his love and trust for his spouse by according her the privilege of counting out and dispensing the money without his intervention. He wishes, in his own words, to elevate her from the role of slave to a position of power and trust: «Mira, hasta ahora no se ha hecho en la casa más voluntad que la mía. Has sido una esclava. De hoy en adelante no se hará más que tu voluntad. El esclavo seré yo» (p. 135). The narrator explains that this oft repeated proclamation engenders in Rosalía a desire for domination and authority. The verb engendrar does not seem very appropriate to describe Rosalía's   —70→   desire for power, since her rebellion against the «orden brindística» long precedes her theft of the family funds. But the offer does provide Rosalía the perfect rationalization for her misdeed: Bringas has officially defected as family head, delegating his full authority to his wife.

Not surprisingly the exercise of power is exhilarating, as are all the little deceits which form part of Rosalía's secret existence: «Quien por tanto tiempo había sido esclava, ¿por qué alguna vez no había de hacer su gusto? Cada una de aquellas acciones incorrectas y clandestinas le acariciaba el alma antes y después de consumada» (p. 156). Bringas, she muses, will have to grow accustomed to seeing her a bit more emancipada. Rosalía's self-proclaimed emancipation is ironic because Bringas' surrender is so shortlived. When it is clear that he will soon be able to return to work, he attempts to recuperate his authority over the family budget. Because his illness has drained their savings, he again hopes to count on his wife's subservience in his return to economic stability: «Cuento contigo hoy, como he contado siempre; cuento con tu economía, con tu docilidad y con tu buen sentido» (p. 172). Of course, it is no longer possible to rely on Rosalía's good sense and economy, and her docility is spent as well.

Because of the natural antipathy some characters of fiction inspire, certain aspects of the novels in which they appear are never studied. Rosalía's faults are not offset by compassion, mercy, self-destructiveness or any trait which might mitigate them in the eyes of the reader. Her character has so little to commend itself that La de Bringas is always studied as a portrait of an ignorant woman driven by a desire for luxury who falls into dishonor. For example, Gullón sees Rosalía's immorality as the natural result of her «morbosa vanidad» and her obsessive drive to climb the social ladder99. The theme of La de Bringas, states Montesinos, is «los agobios de una cursi»100. Rosalía is the product of a cachexic society which, together with her ignorance, pride and vanity are to blame for her downfall. If she were never exposed to life in the Madrid Royal Palace, we are told, she would have remained the very picture of passivity. But if we view the novel as a lengthy schooling or initiation rite, a somewhat tardy one for, as Manuel Pez puts it, Rosalía is ready to fall «de pura madura»101, we do the entire novel more justice than if we only see it as the manifestation of pathological spendthriftiness, a reflection of national decadence or a moral tale about a debt which, like Pinochio's nose, grows ever larger with each failed test. Earlier I mentioned that is only when Rosalía succumbs to her obsession that she comes face to face with a world, with all its deceptions and illusions unmasked, that she was unable even to glimpse under the tutelage of her guardian angel. Bringas closes his eyes, metaphorically, «Y su ceguera moral y doméstico-económica», -as J. E. Varey puts it- coincide «con la ceguera que le viene de la obra de pelo... No quiere saber nada de la verdad»102. Although the world Bringas shuts out is shown to be full of deceit, Rosalía illustrates for us that the roles played within the narrow confines of the family unit are also shaped by falsehood. For Rosalía, an escape from her habitual «frío papel» which she mechanically acts out would mean a liberation, not only from poverty, but from servility and her private world of hypocrisy:


[...] la esposa fiel seguiría a su lado, haciendo su papel con aquella destreza que le habían dado tantos años de hipocresía. Pero para sí anhelaba ardientemente algo más que vida y salud; deseaba un poco, un poquito siquiera de lo que nunca había tenido, libertad, y salir, aunque fuera por modo figurado, de aquella estrechez vergonzante. Porque, lo decía con sinceridad, envidiaba a los mendigos, pues estos el ochavo que tienen lo gozan con libertad, mientras que ella...

(p. 129)                

What, then, are Rosalía's illusions about life and how does she lose them? Basically she believes that against all odds she can increase both her contacts with the outside world and power in her own household and still maintain her honor. But each contact with that world causes her to redefine her concept of honor, to lose honor or become part of the other world itself. The very fact that she is thinking about the loss of honor makes her feel like a different woman: the woman who thinks now that morality is a luxury of only the well-fed and dressed seems like a stranger to her, very unlike the virtuous matron who fought off the attentions of gallants such as the marquis de Fucar and others, «todos ricos».

In the beginning of the novel, Rosalía's principal contact with the outside world is via her friend Milagros, with whom she consults concerning all matters related to etiquette and dress. Although it is difficult to appreciate the two as friends (perhaps because a preoccupation with clothing is not often portrayed as a very worthy passtime of true friends) there is a bond between the two and Rosalía's sympathy for her friend's economic plight as well as her gratitude for her favors seem genuine. However, Milagros' affection and favors are always self-serving. If she sends her friend a dress in the morning she expects to be rewarded for it by evening, like any shopkeeper. Similarly, her requests for loans of money are always preceded by ingratiating favors and compliments which accentuate Rosalía's naiveté. When Milagros leaves for her summering in the North she deceitfully promises to have her agent pay Rosalía what she owes her within a few days. No mention is made of what Rosalía thinks when the loan is not repaid, no surprise or concern registered, Galdós misses the opportunity to study Rosalía's reaction to this disillusionment, perhaps because he knows that the greatest shock with regard to her friendship is best saved for the end of the novel when Rosalía learns that Milagros has called her a cursi, an epithet of nearly tragic proportions in Galdós' novels. Rosalía will not soon forget this insult when selecting a new circle of friends.

The narrator does register Rosalía's keen sense of being used when she discovers that Bringas has amassed what she considers a small fortune without her knowledge and at the expense of her comfort. She regards this deceit as a betrayal of their bond of communication and immediately rationalizes that a good portion of the booty rightfully belongs to her: «Y ella empezó a considerar que si el tesoro no le pertenecía por entero, la mayor parte de él debía estar en sus manos. 'Bastante me he privado, bastantes escaseces he sufrido para que ahora, teniéndolo, pase los ahogos que paso. Si no quiere dármelo, ya le haré entender la consideración que me debe'» (p. 136).

One of Rosalía's bitterest lessons is at the hands of her idol, the impeccable Manuel Pez, the Pez that she has created in her mind as the ideal antidote to the tedious and miserly Francisco. Pez gallantly plays the role   —72→   Rosalía conjures up for him, sensing that the moment will arrive when she will turn to him, or rather turn herself over to him, in her need, which in the end she does. For her part Rosalía senses also that this friendship might someday prove useful to her, but at first she cannot conceive of it ever requiring a sacrifice of her principles: «Yo cuidaré -she thinks naively- de que esta amistad y mi honradez no sean incompatibles» (p. 134). When at last she determines to turn to Pez for financial help she is convinced that the transaction can still be done honorably, but having had very little contact with any men other than the noble Agustín and the honest, unsophisticated Bringas, who is hardly equipped to outsmart the likes of Manuel Pez. Her sense of disillusionment is naturally very keen:

¡Oh Virgen! Venderse y no cobrar nuestro precio, es tremenda cosa... ¡Qué hombres! Ella había tenido la ilusión de figurarse a algunos con proporciones caballerescas... ¡Qué error y qué desilusión! ¡Y para eso se había envilecido como se envileció! Merecía que alguien le diera de bofetadas y que su marido la echara de aquel honrado hogar... ¡ignominia grande era venderse; pero darse de balde!

(pp. 179, 181)                

As Jennifer Lowe points out, when Rosalía loses her honor, as she herself calls her fall to Pez, it is not because she has been seduced, but rather because she has chosen to sell herself as a means to an end; she is not in love with Pez103. So, disillusion is not the result of her having been betrayed in love, but rather of her having been duped into thinking that in Pez' mind her surrender is worth the price she asks. She mistakenly believes his affection for her to be genuine and she naively fails to detect the insincerity of his compliments and offers of help.

Rosalía's final and cruelest humiliation comes at the hands of Refugio, in a scene which has been studied in depth by William H. Shoemaker104. For Rosalía, the «ama convertida en criada» as Shoemaker aptly puts it, the submission to Refugio is the gravest affront to her honor, which could explain why Galdós saved this scene for the very last. The surrender to Pez is not as serious an adulteration of her role, as she would define it, as is her abasement before a being she considers to be both morally and socially beneath her. Here Rosalía learns that despite her resolve, her pride and dignity must be sacrificed before a less influential family member (Refugio) if she is to save face and not become overly subjected to a more powerful family member (Francisco). In order to obtain a loan from Refugio, Rosalía must momentarily exchange roles with her, become her maid and suffer such insults as once she had heaped on her distant relative. Refugio plays her role majestically: she is mean, spiteful, haughty, patronizing and hypocritical. Rosalía is seeing a reflection of her own image which she fails to recognize because she is so used to thinking Refugio everything that she, Rosalía, is not and never could be. Because I see this scene as the final stage in Rosalía's progressive initiation, the one which puts her face to face with another who symbolizes the world Rosalía both rejects and becomes, it is difficult for me to agree with Shoemaker's interpretation of the scene as a dea ex machina105. It is yet another instance when Rosalía acts freely to obtain an end, proving once more that she is yielding unconditionally to the world that life with Bringas has shielded her from for so long.


«Para los Bringas -observes R. Gullón- el mundo real no significa nada, no representa nada, casi no aparece sino como elemento perturbador del universo ficticio en que viven»106. For Rosalía, however, the fictitious world she and Bringas create in the palacio does eventually crumble. One by one all the veils that feed her illusions are stripped away and she must play ever more complicated roles in a world where she too must see beyond appearances and not merely create them. She cannot, she realizes wistfully, return to the peaceful ordered existence that preceded Bringas' blindness. Her own emancipation as much as the Revolution have ended that innocent stage of her life. How could she revert to the loving and obedient wife Bringas counts on now that she has come (to use the analogy so frequently aluded to in the text) to a knowledge of the tree of good and evil? More to the point, she has come to understand the relationship between good -what she perceives of as good: social status, luxurious finery, self-determination and domestic power- and evil: her behavior during Bringas' illness. Seeing the novel's episodes as a series of initiation rites may help to explain what to some (for example Montesinos)107 seems like an excessively complicated plot as far as the main character is concerned. R. Gullón sees Rosalía's self-assurance and determination at the end of La de Bringas as a sign of the return to the world of the unreal, a restoration of the world which preceded her fall, «el mundo derrumbado un momento por la irrupción del universo ominoso de lo real; de esa realidad sin cesar pugnante por destruir el precario baluarte donde ella se defiende negándola, queriendo negarla»108. In the sense that Rosalía is again ready to participate in the world of false appearances to which she formerly belonged this statement is certainly correct, but the surge of pride she feels at the end of the novel stems from her knowledge that she can now better cope with that world precisely because she is better able to see beyond its masks. In her next bout her eyes will be open and she will make a more careful (if not better) selection of combatants. Her future acquaintences will not (as did Pez, Milagros, Refugio and even Bringas) catch her off guard. The narrator shows that the initiation rite is concluded when he makes this prediction for her future:

Es punto incontrovertible que para saldar sus cuentas con Refugio y quitarse de encima esta repugnante mosca, no tuvo que afanarse tanto como en ocasiones parecidas, descritas en este libro. Y es que tales ocasiones, lances, dramas mansos, o como quiera llamárseles, fueron los ensayos de aquella mudanza moral, y debieron de cogerla inexperta y como novicia.

J. E. Varey observes that in La de Bringas Rosalía opened her eyes and saw she was naked; her attempts to cover her nakedness lead her to dishonor109. I agree with this reading of La de Bringas but I feel it is incomplete. Blindness and revelation have as much if not more to do with the theme of the novel as do obsession and loss of honor. I suggest that reading the novel as an initiation process helps to explain the order of events, their prominence and their interrelation. This is not to imply that Rosalía possesses heroic proportions or that she transcends the corrupt, pretentious society that is so prominent in La de Bringas. Clearly she is portrayed as a woman who has succumbed to the pressures of the age in which she lives. Yet she has learned from her lessons and she has transcended (although not   —74→   replaced) the domestic organization she once despised. In other words, she does not seem like a defeated character, whatever desires and goals will constitute her next stage in life, it is left clear that she will play a more strategic role in acquiring them and that she will not give herself «de balde» again.

State University of New York Stony Brook

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