44 pages 1 hour read

Isabel Allende

A Long Petal of the Sea

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2019

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Important Quotes

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“Suddenly [Victor] felt the heart coming back to life between his fingers, first with an almost imperceptible tremor, soon with a strong, regular beat.” 


(Chapter 1, Page 5)

When a soldier is brought to the field hospital with his heart completely exposed, Victor watches it slow and then stop. In an act that saves the soldier’s life and influences Victor’s own career, he places his fingers on the heart and squeezes until it works again. This is a key moment in Victor’s character development, as it inspires him to specialize in cardiology once he has the opportunity to complete formal training. This scene also establishes the heart as a symbol, here one that represents Victor’s perseverance despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles (at present the soldier’s certain death, and later Victor’s own exile and torture).

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“I realized it back in March, when they bombed Barcelona. Those were Italian and German planes. Reason is on our side, but that won’t stave off defeat. We’re on our own, Victor.” 


(Chapter 1, Page 26)

Victor’s father, Marcel, speaks these on his deathbed, urging Victor to take his mother and Roser out of Spain. He highlights the significance of the aid that fascist countries have provided to Franco. The democratic countries will not come to aid the resistance, and the war is lost. Being on the side of justice is no guarantee of victory.

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“The daily rituals of caring for Guillem through the miseries of typhus […] only strengthened Roser’s conviction that he was the only man she could love. She was sure there could be nobody else.” 


(Chapter 2, Page 36)

Roser’s love for Guillem is ardent; the attraction is intense. In the thick of this love, it is impossible for Roser to imagine any other kind of love or ever loving someone else.

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