49 pages 1 hour read

Isabel Allende


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2005

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Important Quotes

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“Her husband, blind with love and occupied in his business affairs, shrugged off the betraying signs of Regina’s state of mind. He wanted to see her happy and never asked her if she was, for fear that she would tell him the truth.”

(Part 1, Page 29)

Alejandro de la Vega dismisses the increasingly obvious signs that his wife Regina has not fully embraced Spanish culture and society. Though Alejandro loves Regina, he is unable to face the fact that he and his world cannot make her happy. As a result, the tension between them will grow until the two can no longer live together; for as much as he may love his wife, his colonialist hubris fragments the marriage.

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“[T]hus Diego and Bernardo, Ana’s son, began their lives with the same milk and in the same arms. That made them milk brothers for as long as they lived.”

(Part 1, Page 32)

This passage highlights the connections between Diego and Bernardo, who were born on the same day and even nursed by the same woman. Though Diego and Bernardo belong to different classes, they grow up together and are even “milk brothers” from the moment they are born. This helps undergird Diego’s dual heritage; though he presents as a Spanish aristocrat, most of what he truly loves relates to Indigenous life.

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“‘Before the whites came, we went to those caves to seek harmony and find okahué, but no one goes now,’ White Owl told them.

‘What is okahué?’ Diego asked.

‘The five basic virtues: honor, justice, respect, dignity, and courage.’

‘I want all those, Grandmother.’

‘You must pass many tests, without crying,’ White Owl said curtly.”

(Part 1, Page 38)

Diego learns about the basic virtues of okahué from his grandmother White Owl. These virtues will become foundational to Diego’s character, and he will consciously cultivate okahué throughout his life as he becomes Zorro. This is another example of his Shoshone roots being the center of his identity.