The High Mountains of Portugal Themes & Motifs

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Fathers and Sons

The thematic and narrative backbone of all three parts of the novel, and therefore of the novel itself, is the father/son relationship. Each of the three stories has at least one such relationship at its core: Tomas and Gaspar in Part 1 (as well as Tomas and his own father); Rafael and his mysteriously killed son in Part 2; and a pair of father/son relationships (one literal, one metaphorical) in Part 3. In each case, the relationship is colored by grief and loss; in each case, the father struggles to overcome the loss by replacing the son with some other focus for feeling and intention; and in each case, grief over the loss is eased, to some degree, by a change in physical circumstances that, in turn, triggers change in emotional circumstances.

For Tomas, grief over both his son and his father leads him on...

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This section contains 2,545 words
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Buy The High Mountains of Portugal Study Guide
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