The short story centers on the character of Alfredo Salazar who is the main protagonist of this tale. The protagonist of the story is very vulnerable in realms of love. This is a short story that revolves around the love affair of Alfredo, Julia and Esperanza. Alfredo who is the son of the old man Don Julian, a more than 30 year man and a bachelor, he is in a 4 year long engagement with his fiancée Esperanza but his feelings has been shipped to Julia Salas when he thinks he was instantly fell in love with her when he first met her who is a relative of the judge and started to have deep conversation with her. He experiences an immediate attraction to her, but alas, he is soon to be married with his fiancée. He conservatively flirts with Julia through secret meetings and subtle declarations, but in the end, he lets her go, with her gaining the late knowledge of his impending marriage. He was trap in his own complication in choosing what he wants to do and what he wants to have. But society strict rules required him to restrain such unwelcome emotions and so he proceeded to marry Esperanza.
But in the very end, he found himself merely infatuated with Julia after he deliberately made a decision by choosing Esperanza. But it is really ashamed that it has taken him far too long, too many years wasted, to realize his feelings for the other woman was just like a death star, a star that sparkles and light radiate from it which he seeks love Julia but only to found out that light of the star no longer exist in the world. If he realize this earlier on by his own error but clouded by lusting for love blinded him to do so, he can be truly happy all those years with Esperanza in their marriage long ago instead of just being not unhappy in his marriage and instead of Esperanza behavior being an out of reach for him which I think that Esperanza know who is the woman that he tries to go after which is tragic that I do feel sorry for her in her situation, obviously taking her for granted in my opinion and her behavior is understandable after what this man have done even though there is no physical cheating involve but still classifies him in the level of cheating where his emotional detachment to her and a sudden attachment to Julia unfaithfulness which is cheating.
Alfredo himself wants what he really wanted and what he really felt. He wanted to live. He wanted to find love. He is clung to that dream of his through Julia which in reality in the end of the story does not really exist in the first place. He long yearns for his long lost love for Julia is what he been thinking all these years when he visited her at her hometown on his business trip who is still unmarried to which is only to come realize the woman he felt in love with is only a mere fragment of his imagination that wasn’t there in the beginning. Dead stars are celestial bodies in the solar system that have long been extinguished, but can still be seen.
What he felt for Julia was long gone that it never exist in the first place just like a pattern of his imagination gone wild. So all these years he had been seeing the light of dead stars, long extinguished, yet seemingly still in their appointed. In the story, dead stars symbolize a dream for something that is nonexistent, a thing that is only a distant memory even though the person he vastly desired love from before which the person is right next to him standing suddenly feel like it never occur at all but only the mere illusions of the fabric of the dark shadows of reality.
I feel sympathy for Alfredo in the story, he was describe physically an ordinary man who probably makes a living as a lawyer or something, engage with his fiancés for years who is very patience in waiting because that this time era, woman have to wait on the man.