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Eva Luna - Chapter Eight Summary & Analysis

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Chapter Eight Summary

Two years have passed since Kamal left Agua Santa and life continues for Eva Luna. Zulema recovers from her drastic decline, but never fully recovers any will to live. Riad Halabi takes her to the hospital but they can do nothing for her and suggest electric shock. Eva cares for the woman, telling her stories and reading her articles from magazines, and this seems to bring the woman some happiness at least. Eva and Raid fall back into their familiar routine, playing dominoes, taking care of the store and going to the movies. The man suggests that Eva take courses to be a secretary so that she can depend on herself someday. Eva is happy in her life and does not wish to leave Agua Santa.

The time comes for Riad to head to the capital for more supplies. Eva is afraid to be in the house alone with Zulema, feeling like the place is still haunted by the ghost of Kamal, but Riad explains that he must go as a matter of business. Zulema does not realize her husband is gone for a day, and when she does seems relieved. Eva takes Zulema onto the patio so that she can get some sun and digs up the jewels that the woman hides there. Zulema tells Eva to burry them again and returns to bed. Eva prepares her dinner and goes to bed herself.

The following morning, Eva finds Zulema dead, having shot herself in the head. Eva cannot bear to have anyone see her patrona this way, so she set about cleaning the woman, changing her clothes, and returning the gun to the drawer of Riad Halabi. The first customer of the morning arrives, the chief of the local tribe. The chief finds Eva sitting quietly with Zulema, telling her stories. Word spreads through the village until the police arrive. The police conduct a raid, finding the gun and the soiled clothing. Eva is taken into custody in handcuffs and led away. The schoolteacher Ines tries to speak to her but the lieutenant will not allow it. The police simply takes Eva to the station and begins to question her. Eva is mute with fear, unable to describe the way she found Zulema. The lieutenant beats Eva, demanding to know why she killed Zulema and where she has hidden the woman's jewels. Eva calls on the ghost of her mother to help her and remains silent.

Riad Halabi arrives and demands Eva. The lieutenant accepts a bribe and allows the young girl to go. The entire town is outside, and they are as outraged as Riad about the condition that Eva is in. Riad and Ines take Eva home and care for her, then get her ready for Zulema's funeral. Everyone from the village shows up and gives their condolences to Riad and Eva, in solidarity and in defiance of the lieutenant.

Despite the fact that Eva has been in the town for years, rumors start anyway and the lieutenant returns to Riad, demanding more money to keep Eva out of trouble. The news has spread beyond the village and Eva is in the newspapers as well. Riad can no longer control what is going on, so he tells Eva that she must leave in order to be safe. Eva is heartbroken, refusing to go, but the Turk insists. Eva realizes that she loves Riad not as a father, but as a lover and kisses him on the mouth, the first person ever to do so. The two go to bed and make love through the night. In the morning Riad takes Eva to the bus stop and sends her away. Eva begs to stay but Riad tells her that he has lived his life and it is time for her to live her own.

The bus takes Eva to the capital. Once there, Eva finds a hotel and begins to look for work. The routine is the same each day, and the owner of the hotel takes pity on her and gives Eva the address of a place that might be hiring. Heading in that direction, Eva realizes that she is near the Calle Republica, the red light district. There is a disturbance in the street and Eva is unable to head back, instead she dashes into a church and sits quietly, waiting for the noise to die down. A beautiful woman is in the church as well, and asks Eva if she had been caught up in the turmoil. Stunned Eva and the stranger realize they know each other, the woman is Melesio, now known as Mimi.

Melesio had been arrested the night of the Revolt of the Whores and taken to Santa Maria, a prison camp on an island. He had stayed there for a year, being brutalized in the cell for homosexuals until La Senora had been able to buy his way out. Melesio was taken to a hospital and cared for, but La Senora had to flee the country. Sending women overseas for work had been the way La Senora had earned the money to free her friend, but the women had been taken to brothels and become prostitutes. La Senora was considered the mastermind of a slave ring and fled for safety.

Melesio, now Mimi, invites Eva to her apartment, declaring that loneliness is not good for a person. The two live together happily, with Eva telling Mimi stories and Mimi explaining that with one more operation he will finally become a woman completely. Eva struggles to understand why Mimi would want to be a woman when all her life Eva has cursed the fact that she herself was female. The two share life and romance, but no serious relationships, and Mimi explains the beliefs of the Maharishi, her spiritual advisor. Eva is once again relatively happy.

Chapter Eight Analysis

Eva tries to live her life as best she can, but once again is the victim of circumstances beyond her control. Life in Agua Santa has returned to a somewhat normal state, with Riad and Eva sharing fun times together like a father and daughter, and Zulema acting like a spoiled child. Though Riad tries to help his wife, it seems she is determined to live her life wallowing in self-pity, and nothing can be done for her.

Eva tries to help Zulema as well, and does not dislike the woman despite the fact that she had been unfaithful to Riad and is the reason that Kamal has left the village and Riad. Always encouraging and thinking of others, Eva takes Zulema outside and tries to get her interested in herself again by digging up the woman's jewels, one of the few things that has brought her joy. Even the jewels do not work, and Eva buries them again, though they will become important as the story progresses.

Zulema kills herself, and Eva, once again thinking of others, cleans the scene and her patrona, unwilling to let others see Zulema at anything but her best. Riad is still away, and Eva does not know what to do, so she simply waits, convinced that the ghost of Kamal has caused the problem at hand. The villagers arrive and they pity Eva, not only because of the situation, but because the police arrest her for murder. The statement that Riad made about democracy not being important to the people so far from the capital is haunting at this point, as the corrupt lieutenant beats Eva to get her to confess. Eva, unsure of what is happening or why, is mute, calling on the ghost of he mother for strength.

Riad is able to bribe the lieutenant and get Eva out of jail, stunned by what they have done to the young woman. The villagers are equally angry, though the schoolteacher Ines warns that despite this, gossip will soon spread. This is sadly the case, especially when the story of Zulema and Eva hits the newspapers. Riad has no choice but to send Eva away, promising to always take care of her. Eva does not want to leave the man that has shown her only kindness and love, allowing her to feel as if she has a family for the first time since her mother's death. The love Eva feels for Riad is overwhelming, and she demonstrates it by kissing him on the mouth, something that no one has ever done because of his cleft lip. Eva shares that no one has ever kissed her on the lips either, thus the two are sharing a gift with each other. Making love, Eva gives herself completely to Riad, as she has nothing but herself to give. Riad still send Eva to the capital, knowing that she will have no life in Agua Santa now that the gossip is in place.

In the capital, Eva tries to find work, the schooling that she has received giving her a better chance than she would have had. Despite this, work is hard to come by and her money is running out. The unrest in the streets is far different from the small village of Agua Santa, and signifies that despite the new democracy that is in place, the people of the country are still unhappy with the way things are.

Eva reconnects with Melesio, now Mimi, when swept up in such unrest. The two are thrilled to be together again. Mimi tells Eva what happened to him after the Revolt of the Whores, brought about by the letter he had written about police corruption. Mimi had spent a year in a penal colony until La Senora had been able to buy his freedom. From there he had recuperated in a hospital and begun taking the hormones that would transform him into a woman. Only one surgery remains, and needs to be conducted in Los Angeles. Once Mimi saves the money, she will go to the United States and return, a true woman. Eva has difficulty with this idea, not because she feels that Melesio is still a man, but because being a woman has never been easy for her, and she cannot understand why anyone who is lucky enough to be born a man would want to change that.

This section contains 1,716 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
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