"Camellia Street": Rodoreda's Picaresque Novel Book Review by JPWrite

"Camellia Street": Rodoreda's Picaresque Novel
A review of Merce Rodoreda's 1966 novel about life in 20th century Catalan Spain, "Camellia Street".
# 65896 | 1,896 words | 3 sources | MLA | 1999 | US
Published on May 23, 2006 in Literature (Spanish) , Women Studies (Feminism)

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The paper reviews a major work of Rodoreda's. It gives the background to the author, her times, and the setting of the book -- the Spanish Civil War and Franco's rise to power, (although the work was not published until after the war). The paper reviews the form of the picaresque novel and explains why the struggle of Cecilia, the protagonist, meets the necessary criteria in order to be classified as a picaresque novel. The writer focuses on the author's flower imagery and her use of it to symbolize Cecilia's struggle to relate to men. The writer concludes that Cecilia's journey has left her still struggling to find her place in the world.

From the Paper:

"Essentially, Camellia Street is a picaresque novel. This form originated in 16th century Spain and became well known in Cervantes' Don Quixote and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The subject of a picaresque novel is usually a "rogue" ("picaro" is Spanish for "rogue") that wanders from adventure to adventure without seemingly any roots or home. Certainly Cecilia fits this description. Abandoned as a baby, she doesn't even know her last name or her parentage. She grows up to become a prostitute and a kept woman, subject to the affections and/or brutality of man after man.
"The protagonist in a picaresque novel must live by his/her wits and usually shows little or no alteration of character throughout the long succession of escapades. Though the book does seem to end with some hope, as Cecilia states "I looked around and it seemed like the ceiling was higher," there is no major transformation in her character. Her emotions and matter-of-fact tone remain steady.
"Finally, this form explores the illusions and realities in life. Many critics of Rodoreda's work have pointed out that her characters and settings are usually somewhere in between the bleakly realistic and the imaginary. As Rosenthal points out, in Camellia Street, Cecilia is often victim to her own illusions, developing jealousies and cruel intentions that "slowly build into scenes of hallucinatory intensity."

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

"Camellia Street": Rodoreda's Picaresque Novel (2006, May 23) Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/camellia-street-rodoreda-picaresque-novel-65896/

MLA Format

""Camellia Street": Rodoreda's Picaresque Novel" 23 May 2006. Web. 20 January. 2021. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/camellia-street-rodoreda-picaresque-novel-65896/>