44 pages 1 hour read

Isabel Allende

A Long Petal of the Sea

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2019

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Character Analysis

Victor Dalmau

Through the character of Victor, Allende invites the reader to experience the Spanish Civil War, exile, the life of an immigrant, the repression of the Pinochet regime, arrest and political persecution, and belonging. He is the primary lens through which the author tells the history of Spain and Chile. Introspective and at times, prone to sadness, Victor is somewhat shy and bookish. He is a man of science who is drawn to the study of medicine. Given the times in which he lives, Victor is forced to learn medicine on the frontlines of battle. He learns his trade via action, only learning the underlying theories later. When he enrolls in medical school to complete his degree after the war, “Victor knew as much as his professors about practice, but very little about theory: it was one thing to mend broken bones, and quite another to be able to identify them by name” (143). Victor’s thoughtful nature allows Allende to demonstrate the challenging nature of coping with change and the extraordinary effort that people had to put forth to survive in these times.

While Victor has the flaws of a real human being, he is a thoroughly decent person. Strongly committed to his family, he marries out of duty to ensure that his brother’s son is safe and financially secure.

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