Sunday, March 16, 2014

"The Gold of Tomas Vargas" by Isabel Allende

                This short story describes a selfish, abusive, cheap man Tomas Vargas who has a wife and kids. Another girl comes along saying that her baby is his. At the end of the story Tomas dies with all his gold in a swamp, and his two women live happily together. The possible themes I predict are justice and karma, money, and feminism.
                Tomas’s wife Antonia Sierra still holds her head up high even though she has grown ugly throughout the marriage widely due to abuse. When Concha Diaz comes to town Antonia no longer is able to hold her head up high, and she blames everything on Concha. Yet, with some time she starts to be a proud mother to Concha. She suffers abuse from her husband until Concha’s baby is born. This time she shows her strength even though she is a woman: “Her husband made a move to whip off his belt to give her the usual thrashing, but before he could complete the gesture, she started toward him with such ferocity that he stepped back in surprise. With that hesitation, he was lost, because she knew then who was the stronger” (Allende 79). Antonia exhibits her strength and wins. She has the power the stop her husband’s abuse and superiority.
                Tomas is a rich man because he keeps all his gold buried, and he is the cheapest man alive. He would not even pay for Concha to go to the hospital. Although he is rich and has had good fortune with money, “his good fortune did nothing to mitigate his miserliness or his scrounging” (Allende 72). Money does not make Tomas happy and it just contributes to him being an awful person. Tomas is such a horrible person that in the end he dies in the swamp with his buried gold. Allende writes his destiny purposefully and with the idea of karma in mind. Tomas’ destiny was shaped from the beginning. Something horrible is predicted to happen to him because he is such a horrible person at times it is even over the top because Allende writes hyperbolically. All he wanted in his life was his gold, and he is dies with his gold. Thus, he gets what he wants, but he dies meaning he loses. The women win in the story because they get his gold, even though Tomas dies with it. This shows the theme of karma because Tomas did horrible deeds, so he lost all his gold even though he died right next to it. 

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