Study Guide

Carlos Fuentes Writing Styles in Where the Air Is Clear

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Symbolism

The narrative of Where the Air Is Clear contains an abundance of symbols, which serve to relate Aztec mythology and contemporary history into a new Mexican identity. Some of the symbols that connect the novel's themes of self as ancient and modern are jewelry, fire, and vision.

Two diametrically opposed characters who rely on jewelry as their symbol of status and self are Teodula and Norma. Teodula proudly wears her wedding jewelry and refuses to take it off, because it symbolizes the ancient life of the Aztec culture; her last name is a link with the Aztec emperor Moctezuma, who was killed by the Spanish conquistador Cortes. Teodula's persistence in wearing the elaborate jewels signifies that she hangs on to the famous lost treasure of Moctezuma, and expects revenge on the "newcomers." Only when she witnesses an apparent sacrifice of Norma's death in the flames, Teodula throws her...

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This section contains 1,017 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Where the Air Is Clear Study Guide
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Literature of Developing Nations for Students
Where the Air Is Clear from Literature of Developing Nations for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.