CXXIV - O Homem, by Aluísio Azevedo, comments by André Bandeira

This novel has the same characteristics of «O Cortiço» (The bee-hive,  harbinger of the modern «Favela», the contemporary urban slum). Indeed, it had been written before. It is set out from the same naturalistic premisses, that means, it has a character, the physician Dr. Lobão, who knows everything about what is going to happen to the protagonist, Magdá, the daughter of an old aristocrat, who, by disgrace, won't manage to get married. The woman is beautiful, has a good dowry, but she had been brought with a half-brother she thought to be just a stepson of her widowed father. Having been brought up together, when they come of age, they swear each other what the feelings were already hatching, till the old man states that any marriage between them, is impossible. The secret he kept for so many years has to be revealed, he pronounces both of them brother and sister, and the son departs to Europe, from where he'll never return. The novel intends to be naturalistic, and is immediately set by the Physician who -- in a modern way -- sums up all the bibliography predicting Magda's future hysteria. But the way how the young adolescent, in love with her stepbrother, shifts to brotherly affection, at the revelation, is simply not convincing. The brother dies in Portugal and, then, it begins the familiy chase for a bridegroom. In a sequence, Magda refuses a rich but ageing bachelor, a brilliant, but sick bureaucrat and a dandy. Then, in an episode, she happens to be carried in the arms of a robust portuguese quarry worker, who is about to marry one of his own, in the slum nearby. She simply cannot stop dreaming of his robust arms, flat belly and proeminent breast. The rest of the novel, which had been incepted at the pace of a grouchy physician, mixes up the reality of a distant worker who's going to get married, and an aristocratic bachelor who dreams, in her delirious letarghias, that she got married to him. As a matter of delirious facts, it is not him. In her dreams, chased by an authoritarian father so onirical has her dreams, the workman is no workman, but a sophisticated aristocrat who desguised himself as a quarry worker just to get close to her. Magda gets crazier and crazier and when the happy marriage happens in the slum ahead, she invites the freshly married couple. Then, pretending to make them taste a fine wine, poisons both of them to death. She narrowly escapes to be lynched by the mob, thanks to the same grouchy physician who had predicted almost everything, and shields his patient with his body. Questioned by the Police, and before being committed to a Psychiatric Institution, she reckognizes the corpses, she states that the man was her husband and that she killed him because he had cheated her with that woman liying aside. The novel is a promise of a naturalistic proselytism when suddenly it mouths in an almost real, golden delirium. Did the author want to prove that natural erotical inclinations have to be fulfilled, despite parenthood, or did he want to describe that there was a paralel romantic world that no Physician, albeit very prepared, could never avert? Maybe the Physician was the author himself and he loved the romantic madness that, in Émile Zola's Paris would be wiped out by the next local revolution. The author became a diplomat of Brazil and, being already one of the most successful novelists of his time, never really wrote again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye. Thank you very much.