Dead Stars

I thought of writing a review for this short story that we discussed last weekend, but I was honestly a tad lazy to do it just yet. However, I was digging through some college files for some notes to do some work, and I found my work sheet from my English Literature class about Paz Marquez Benitez’s short story. I thought I’d just post that one here, because it’s sort of a review of the story from when I first read (and liked) it. :) Oh, please note that I wrote these answers about 7 years ago, so these thoughts come from a 19-year-old Tina. :D

Oh, and if you’ve never read the story, you can read it online here.

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Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez

Discuss briefly one internal and one external factor or force that might have contributed to Alfredo’s decision to marry Esperanza despite the apparent mutual attraction between him and Julia. (Spoiler warning!)

Alfredo is supposed to marry Esperanza, but then he meets Julia and falls for her, so he starts to question if Esperanza was actually right for her. But in the end, he ended up marrying Esperanza. One factor that might have influenced this decision is because everyone around him knows about the upcoming marriage. Esperanza’s parents know it, his parents know it, and they have already set a date (or at least, a month) for them to be married. I’m pretty sure invitations are then being made, as well as the program and such. So if he decides to cancel the wedding, it would be a big outrage to everyone, especially to Esperanza’s party. Another factor, which comes from him, is that because even if there is a mutual attraction between him and Julia, he still feels the responsibility of his set wedding to Esperanza. Even if there was apparent mutual attraction between him and Julia, he knew he had this promise to marry the other girl, and being a man, he couldn’t back out from it.

Choose one passage in the story that you particularly like and explain why you like it.

So all these years—since when?—he had been seeing the light of dead stars, long extinguished, yet seemingly still in their appointed places in the heavens. (par. 223)

I like this passage because it sounds so sad, yet it is full of meaning. Besides the fact that the title of the short story appears in this passage, which I think is really lovely (the title), I think I can relate to this somehow. I think this passage talks about someone seeing something that is long gone, but knowing that it was there – gone, but was there before. It’s when you end up expecting something from someone for a long time. When you finally get to talk to the person about it, it turns out that what you have been expecting before is gone, and yet you can still see that they were there before.

* * *

In a nutshell: I liked the story then, and I still like the story now. While the language may be a bit deep and possibly dated, I thought it had just the right amount of angst and bitterness of a “love” that is lost. It’s the kind of story that makes me sigh, shake my fist at Alfredo, and wish that things could be different, even if I’m not sure who needs that different ending the most. True, the characters could have been fleshed out more, but I think the story gives us just enough of the overall conflict that it left me melancholic and wistful at the end.

Sigh.

Rating:

Other reviews:
marginalia
Book Rhapsody
It’s A Wonderful Book World

On Dead Stars and Romantic Afternoons

I had a draft of this post from last night early this morning, before my shift ended, but I decided to chuck it all because that was my end-of-night-shift self talking and that self is usually more talkative than my usual self (imagine that). Let’s start over.

I wasn’t supposed to moderate a discussion for this year, but being one of the head moderators/administrators, I was ready to pick a vacant month to moderate in case no one steps up. It came a little early, after a friend made a deal with me and told me she’ll handle our other activity if someone else moderates for this month. It just so happened that the previous days, I was chatting with another friend about several activities that we can do for the group, and I realized that maybe if I moderate again, I will be able to make those activities happen.

So when 2013 rolled around, I was actually already planning my discussion. It didn’t even matter what book won, because I was going for an easy read — an easy and romantic read, because my discussion was during February. I was all about embracing the inner romantic of course! :D

The “book” that won was actually a short story, Dead Stars by Paz Marquez-Benitez. My original book of choice was Fourteen Love Stories but I could’t find a copy of it anywhere. So I decided to just stick with that story, and it won, mostly because of familiarity as this was one of the stories discussed in Literature class for most of us.
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We had the face to face discussion last Sunday. I honestly felt more prepared for this discussion than my first one, probably because I have been preparing for this for so long. Heh. Plus the fact that I had several sick days in February, and I ended up having a lot of time on my hands despite my busy schedule. I had several activities planned, and while I was very excited, I was also kind of wary. Will it fly? Will people like it? Or will they think it’s too corny/cheesy? Am I just doing everything for my own fulfillment?

Discussion time :D

Discussion time :D (Photo c/o Reev)

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