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Eva Luna Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 53 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Eva Luna.
This section contains 1,119 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)

Fortitude

There are many examples of fortitude in the novel, the most obvious being Eva Luna herself. Born to an unmarried servant, Eva spends the first part of her life in the home of her mother, Consuelo's, employer. Eva is happy, secure in the love of her mother, creating a world of her own with her imagination. Life changes for Eva when her mother dies on her sixth Christmas. The loss is overwhelming, but Eva is still secure in her mother's love, able to call her on the memory of her mother when life gets too difficult.

Throughout her life, Eva overcomes many obstacles, always working to live, but also to help those around her. Though her life is difficult Eva never questions the lot she is dealt, she simply does what needs to be done and moves on. Eva's youth is sometimes underestimated by those around her, but despite her lack of experience, Eva stands up for herself when necessary, whether angrily snatching the wig from one employer's head, or dumping a chamber pot on the head of another. This ability of Eva's makes it almost impossible for her to fail in her life. In the end, despite the difficulties Eva experiences, she achieves her dreams, even though at times she is not even aware of what they are.

Other characters in the novel show great fortitude as well, and this may be why they are drawn to Eva, as she is to them. Eva's best friend when she returns to the capital is Mimi, a beautiful transsexual that Eva knew as Melesio when she was a young girl. Mimi left his home and his vicious father to move to the capital where he taught italian. Melesio begins working in a cabaret and realizes that performing is what he loves. Life takes a turn when Melesio is arrested and taken to Santa Maria Prison and he spends a year on the island being abused by the other inmates. Once free, Melesio recuperates and transforms himself into Mimi, the actress. Mimi achieves great fame, and finally finds someone to love her for who and what she is.

Rolf Carle shows fortitude when he leaves the pain of his youth behind him and travels to South America to stay with his uncle and aunt. The horrors of his youth and the abuse of his father might have made Rolf a weak man, but with strength of character he triumphs, pursuing his dreams. Riad Halabi does the same. Cursed with a cleft lip, Halabi creates a life for himself in sales, truly cherishing the interaction with his customers. Halabi shows fortitude by not allowing himself to avoid people, instead he seeks them out. The only concession the man makes to his disfigurement is to cover his face around others. Even this is not for his sake, but for the sake of others, not wishing to upset them.

Love

Despite the difficult lives that the characters in Eva Luna sometimes lead, there is an undercurrent of love throughout the novel. Eva knows that she is loved, from her first memory and even past her mother's death, simply because her mother had told her this was so. After Consuelo's death, Eva still feels her mother's love, as well as that of her madrina, though the cook has a different way of showing it. The madrina shows her love by providing what she can for the young girl, and teaching her the things she knows to be true. Life is difficult, but Eva thrives, knowing that despite the hardships, she is loved.

Eva's first sense of romantic love occurs when she reunites with Huberto Naranjo in her teens. Eva has a crush on the handsome young man and he loves her, but as a sibling. This changes drastically when Eva and Huberto meet again as adults. To Eva it seems that she has been waiting for Huberto all of her life. The two meet when they can, as Huberto is now a guerrilla, fighting in the jungles of South America. Though they love each other, it seems that they need each other more to remember where they have come from and the adversity they have faced, than to plan for the future.

Eva's relationship with Riad Halabi is at first the love of a child for a parent, which turns into something more when Eva is forced to leave him. Eva is grateful to Halabi for giving her a family and stability and shows him by kissing his lips, something no one has ever done. In doing so, Eva unlocks deeper feelings between the two, and they make love, sharing their joy in each other and the sadness in their parting. Eva had long been taught that by giving away her virginity she would lose her worth, but Riad makes Eva feel the exact opposite, as if the man who cared for her has finally made her a woman.

The love of Eva and Rolf is true love, the two seem to have a spiritual connection, each thinking at separate times that they seem to know each other from somewhere. It seems that the difficult paths each has followed through their lives has lead them to each other. The author does not reveal the end of the lovers' story, but it is insinuated that their happiness is everlasting, created by them, for them.

Sex

Sex is an important theme in Eva Luna from the outset. Eva Luna is conceived when her mother, Consuelo, is nursing the gardener back to health after a snake bite. Though the usual remedies seem to fail, Consuelo notices that he gardener responds positively when touched. Consuelo believes that if pleasure will save him she should have some pleasure as well. From that point on, sex is the medicine of choice. Though the gardener leaves, Consuelo does not regret her choice, as she has Eva as a gift.

Eva herself uses sex as a gift when she is leaving Riad Halabi after his wife's suicide. Though the two had been father and daughter to that point, Eva realizes as she is saying goodbye that she loves Riad. The young woman feels no shame as she gives herself to the man she loves and considers that she is receiving a gift as well. Though it might be a bit shocking, the act does not come across as incestuous at all. To Eva, and therefore to the reader, sex with Riad is simply an expression of love, as well as regret that they will be parted. The fact that Eva kisses Riad on his cleft lip, the first person to do so, shows that Eva's gift is freely and lovingly given.

This section contains 1,119 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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