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That is where the first shift in the story and in the symbolism of the doves occurs. After searching for a few days, Colometa finally found a job cleaning houses for an old couple down town. “Every day [she] felt more worn out” (Rodoreda 96). Her little headaches had become big headaches and her annoyance of the doves had begun to grow. In fact, one day, when she returned home from work, she heard her son Antonio and her little girl Rita, laughing upstairs.
Normally, when she got home from work, they were on the floor sleeping. Hearing their laughter, however, sent her rushing up the stairs.
“Holding my breath while I turned the key in the lock… ” she saw: The balcony was full of doves and there were some in the hallway too, and I couldn’t see the children anywhere… I found them in that dark little room where we’d put Antonio when he was very small… Rita was sitting on the floor with a dove in her lap and the boy had three doves in front of him (Rodoreda 97).
Having the doves in her home became a difficult enough burden to carry, but to see the things she disliked most running around, wild with her children, would be a mother’s nightmare. Colometa left the room with birds flying everywhere and her children crying.
“And the trouble I had getting those doves out” she said, “and the act those kids had been putting on! I could see for a while the doves had [become] masters of the apartment in the morning while I was gone” (Rodoreda 97).
When Quimet got home, he “thought it was all very cute” (Rodoreda 97). He said: … The dovecote was the heart where the blood comes from that goes through the body and returns to the heart and how the doves left the dovecote which was the heart and went through the apartment which was the body and returned to the dovecote which was the heart. And he said we should try and get more doves (Rodoreda 97).
Frustrated and upset, all Colometa wanted was support from her husband. Instead, once again, she and her opinions were over looked, and Quimet took over the situation. As time moved on, Colometa’s already big headaches, became even bigger. Having a part time job, taking care of her kids, and dealing with Quimet, gave her a headache as it was. Adding the new stresses of the doves, made them even bigger. “All I head was doves cooing. I was killing myself cleaning up after the doves. My whole body stank of doves. Doves on the roof, doves in the apartment. I’d see them in my dreams (Rodoreda 100).
Her personality changed drastically over the next few months, affecting her relationships with her family and friends and at work. The affect the doves had on her were almost more than she could handle. “I was worn out. I was killing myself working and everything seemed to go wrong. Quimet didn’t see that I needed a little help myself … [he] kept bringing home doves… and on Sundays he and Cintet would go off together” (Rodoreda 107). These new strains in her life added constant pressure and anxiety, where finally, she begins to break. It was soon after that she decided what she needed to do.
“I started bothering the doves while they were roosting… I picked up the eggs under a dove who hadn’t run away and I waved them in front of her beak… after a while there were a lot of empty nests. And the eggs quietly [rotted] away in the straw (Rodoreda 111,112). She did exactly what was done to her because of the doves, to the doves. She displaced her emotions and psychological struggles on the doves hoping it would get rid of the stress in her life. In this situation, Colometa’s displacement of her feelings on the doves did temporarily fix the ticking time bomb inside of her.
It didn’t take long for her conscious to turn on, and then she was back to normal. Interestingly enough, Colometa and Quimet seem to change places on the next page. Quimet exclaims, “the doves weren’t worth a penny and all they were good for was picking up bits of straw in their beaks and making nests and altogether it was a pain” (Rodoreda 113). Not long after, Quimet went off to war with Mateu and Cintet. Colometa was left to take care of the children and doves, but life began to settle back down. The doves eventually left, except for one.
The day Colometa was told of Quimet’s death was the same day the last bird died: And inside, all the way in the back, there was a dove lying with his belly up, the one with the half moons. His neck feathers were still wet from his death sweat, his eyes were cloudy. Feathers and bones. He was already cold (Rodoreda 138). The dove’s role in this novel was beyond significant. Their symbolism for specific people, events, and emotions allowed a deeper look into the heart of the book. The affect the doves had been almost always on Colometa.
Even after the last dove died, she was still affected by them. A woman in the park was one day observing her, “She misses her doves, the dove lady misses her doves, and all she does is long for them” (Rodoreda 175).
Word count: 1,439 Bibliography Rodoreda, Merce. The Time of the Doves. Trans. David Rosenthal. Minnesota: Graywolf Express, 1986. Print. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.
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