Imagining Argentina Summary & Study Guide

Lawrence Thornton
This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Imagining Argentina.
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Imagining Argentina Summary & Study Guide Description

Imagining Argentina Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Imagining Argentina by Lawrence Thornton.

Imagining Argentina is the story of a man named Carlos Rueda who is given the extraordinary ability of being able to see into the lives and fates of people that have been taken by Argentina's government without trial or reason. When Carlos's wife, Cecilia, is taken from their home after writing a sharp editorial in the newspaper about children who have been taken from La Paz in a school bus and never found again, Carlos is overcome with grief. However, he slowly learns over time that he has been granted the gift of seeing into the fate of other people who have been taken away in a manner similar to Cecilia's.

Carlos is the head of the Children's Theater in Buenos Aires and has a highly defined sense of the imaginative and theatrical. He understands the importance of paying attention to the imagination. For Carlos, he will fight a war against the generals who have taken Cecilia and countless others away in an effort to "cleanse" Argentina from those that disagree with the government and its decisions. He will use his words and imagination as a dagger of hope against the destruction and emptiness that the generals create during their regime.

Shortly after Cecilia is taken, a principal actor at the Children's Theater tells them that his father was taken suddenly. Hearing his story, Carlos can see the world that unfolded for Enrico's father just at the time of the disappearance. It is as if he is transported from the darkened theater directly into Raimundo Garcia's world. He tells Enrico what happened to his father, as well as his father's fate, which is to return shortly to the family. Days later, the vision comes true and from that point on, Carlos's world is transformed.

Word spreads that Carlos has the gift of finding the fate of the people who have disappeared in the streets. Simply by talking about them, Carlos can resurrect their thoughts and environment at the time they were taken by the government. He begins to hold weekly meetings in his garden, asking people to tell them what has happened to their loved ones. For some, the ending is not pleasant, as the individual is killed. Others hear a better story and are told that their relative, friend or family member will return to them in the future. Regardless of the answer, the power of having the knowledge of what has happened to the individual is a start to solving the question of "What happened..." to the person for the family and friends.

Carlos writes a play at the Children's Theater called The Names, which he uses as a vehicle to demonstrate to the community children that what is happening is real. The play is a direct act of aggression to the government and they close the theater, attack Carlos and take his daughter Teresa. Carlos will be able to see Teresa's fate as well as define the actions and fate of Cecilia as well. Although Teresa will be killed, Carlos will foresee that Cecilia is alive and well, fighting hard against her captors.

As the political environment changes, Carlos attends Carnival in Buenos Aires, presumably to glean more information for the upcoming play that he is writing. The Children's Theater reopens and Carlos's meetings start to occur twice a week rather than just weekly. He helps more and more people until one night, he realizes he has done all that he is capable of doing. While in Carnival, he sees Cecilia and they are finally reunited. Four years later, they will be present in the courtroom when the generals who created all of the destruction and desecration are finally prosecuted, given life sentences in jail. However, the final stories for millions of individuals will never be revealed.

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