Have you even been in a situation when you have gone from total innocence to experience in a short period of time? In the short story “The Blue Bouquet” written by Octavio Paz, the main character starts off by waking up from a nap and going on a walk even after being warned not to by the owner of the boardinghouse. Whilst out the protagonist gets stopped in the middle of the night by another man with a knife who wanted something very unusual.
It wasn’t money or jewelry; it was the man’s eyes. The stranger said his girlfriend wanted a bouquet of blue eyes for herself, but the innocent man didn’t have blue eyes, which the stranger soon found out and let the man go. After that night, the protagonist left the very next morning. This story illustrates how fast things can change and how you can go from very innocent to experienced in as little as an hour. Octavio Paz’s short story demonstrates that experiences are so important because we gain knowledge and learn from them, resulting in better judgment for similar situations in the future.
Experiences are things that we come across and that changes us from the person we once were. It could be good or bad, we have no control over it. In this story the man goes from being safe in his town to being horrified by what he has experienced. At the start of the story that he feels safe: “I went to the little window and inhaled the country air” page 163. He also shows his innocence on page 163, “A gray winged butterfly, dazzled, circled the yellow light.
The butterfly symbolises the innocence he once had, before everything happened. But when he left, the lack of experience appeared again. The boardinghouse owner had only one eye and told the man not to venture out in the darkness. Without really paying attention he plunged into the dark anyway. This detail of information by the author foreshadows the things that could happen to the protagonist later on in the story. But it’s not only how you experience things, it’s what you gain from them.
When someone experiences something, it doesn’t just disappear and we forget about it. You always gain something; it could be psychological or physical. In this case he gains something psychological; knowledge. “I went in without saying a word. The next day I left town”, page 165. This shows thatbecause he went from not knowing anything about the town to being very experienced, the protagonist has gained the knowledge not to go back there again for his own sake.
When someone experiences something bad, the natural reaction is to avoid doing it again. Experiences show us the outcome in an event, resulting in us having better choices in the future. For example if you fail a test, usually people want to know what type of questions they got wrong so it doesn’t happen again on a final exam. In this short story, Octavio Paz demonstrates that the protagonist has already learned from his mistake and to act accordingly; in this case the man leaves the town.
So to conclude this short story emphasises the importance of experiences, how you react and learn from them, which results in sharpened choices and judgement in the future. People can relate to this short story because we all go through experiences which shape us as individuals. We can’t help but embrace experiences because good or bad we take something away from it that makes us better/stronger individuals. These types of literature show us these concepts in a presentation we can relate to.
Courtney from Study Moose
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