“From the time I was very young, as long as I could remember, I have felt the world is magic, that there are two realities: one that is palpable… and the other one, the night reality of secrets… a lunar reality”- Isabel Allende (14 De Zapata). Isabel Allende is a Chilean woman who was raised in various locations around the world. Since her father left her when she was a child she lived with her mothers side of the family, a family who had a strong political background.
Allende is a “feminist” (40 De Zapata) who challenged equality in the streets of Chile. This attribute of Allende helps decipher the theme in her story about a thirty-year-old man who falls in love with an eleven-year-old girl, named Ester, and must find a way to keep her in his life. In the course of the short story, “Ester Lucero” Isabel Allende challenges the boundaries between: fantasy and reality, good and evil, and social norms and personal desire through the theme of magic.
Angel is man of logic and fact these types of characters typically have a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how he or she will interpret and respond to situations; but Angel is able to forget the logic and cross over to the magical realm. In the story the reader learns that Angel is a doctor and a previous soldier who approaches situations in systematic logical ways. Which is why Angel’s reaction easily accepted when Ester arrives at the hospital where he “operated, he gave her Injections, he transfused her with his own blood, shot her full of antibiotics”(93 Allende).
This proves that Angel follows procedures and regimes in a systematic manner. But when the facts failed to revive Ester, Angel turns to magic. The moment where Angel removes the clothes and shoes “he always wore”(95 Allende) is the same moment he enters a magical realm. Angel does not just simply smear crushed up herbs on Ester, “forgetting the first laws of asepsis” (95 Allende) but engages in a “frenetic dance around the sick girl” (95 Allende) as well. Further proving that Angel crossed the boundary from reality and logic into a Fantasy in order to save Ester’s life.
Angel is first seen as a godsend in a “god forsaken town” (92 Allende), but is gradually taken by evil thought due to Ester. Allende has initially bestowed her protagonist with virtuousness. The Protagonist’s name is, Angel, which signifies a moral and respectable character; in fact, Angel is perceived as “a hero of the nation”(92 Allende) by the town’s people. But this character is stigmatized, for the readers, within the first page of the story when they learn of his inappropriate affections for a little girl.
Soon after Angel is gradually being taken over by “evil” thoughts due to Ester. During the hour of siesta there was a “hellfire that bedeviled him“ (92 Allende) which means that the devil is taking over him when he imagines Ester “naked” and “moist” (92 Allende). Further showing his descent into “evil”, Angel curses his mother for not giving birth to him twenty years later. This act is directly ignores one of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and mother” (33 Harrelson) which further proves his decent into evil.
Angel crosses the threshold between good and evil when he makes a pact with the devil himself in order to save Ester’s life. Ester has just fallen on a wooden stake and taken to the hospital, “Poor little thing, it was like someone had tried to kill a vampire,”(93 Allende) Vampires are associated with evil and Ester is being described as one thus implying that she is the one who has ignited the evil thoughts with in Angel. Throughout the story Angel’s personal desires are blocked by social norms. Angel desires an eleven-year-old girl; this of course, is not accepted in society.
Allende uses adjectives like: “blossomed”, “ripening”, and “school-girl” (92 Allende), which have a connotation of sexual maturity, which reveals Angel’s sexual attraction toward Ester. More importantly, Allende reinforces the idea that Ester is Angel’s forbidden fruit. This is similar to the story of Adam and Eve and their struggle with temptation to eat the forbidden apple. But Angel understands that this is a boundary he cannot cross; hence satisfying his lust with “lewd imaginations” (92 Allende). Moreover Angel never rapes or partakes in sexual advances towards Ester, but instead plays the role of an “uncle” (92 Allende).
Consequently Allende is suggesting that Angel is aware of his boundaries and does not physically cross this particular threshold but instead resides in his fantasies. Angel is challenged by many boundaries throughout the story of “Ester Lucero”. He was faced with fantasy and reality, good and evil, and social norms and personal desire. Allende also was determined to break thresholds in her own country for the equality of women. Sometimes she would over step boundaries like when she perched a bra at the end of a stick and paraded around the busy streets of Chile (40 De Zepata).
Allende is a writer who focuses on magical realism, which is when magical elements intertwine with an otherwise ordinary setting. But then a character breaks the rules of our real world. In this case it would be Angel who is able to revive Ester from a fatal wound. “The heart is what drives us and determines our fate. That is what I need for my characters in my books: a passionate heart. I need mavericks, dissidents, adventurers, outsiders and rebels, who ask questions, bend the rules and take risks. ”