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An analysis of the short story "Dead
Stars," a story of "what if" as a married man
again meets the woman he fell in love with
many years earlier while engaged to his
wife. The story is basically a compilation of
the complicated circumstances that every
man has to go through in life.
Alfredo was once in love with
Esperanza, no doubt, but there comes a
time when love fades, and the only thing
holding you together is the vow you gave
your fiance, that which you cannot take
back. Why can't you take it back? Its
because you are afraid of what will be the
reaction of the people around you, specially
during the time of the story. What's visibly
wrong about this is that most often than not,
men refuse to listen to their own yearnings
Love here, though perhaps genuine
to a point, for Alfredo, is seemingly weak
and purposive. Weak, because it is
eventually overcome by propriety, and
purposive because it was merely a tool to
justify his desire to go against society; that
for once he will not be a puppet, but the
master of his own fate. In the story, Alfredo
falls drastically in love with Julia even as he
is engaged to Esperanza, but in the end
forgoes the idea. He kept on holding on to
that glimmer of "what could have been"
through out the years of his marriage to
Esperanza, but upon meeting Julia again,
he realizes that what he thought was there,
had now gone for more than one reason.
First, it is possible to say that after
what society has done to him (dehumanized
him), he found at peace in his place, and
sought no more that illusive dream of
yesterday. He understood, after meeting her
again, that it was nostalgia that was taking
hold of his heart, and not the "love" that he
once felt for her. It is said in the story that he
is not unhappy with his marriage, but a part
of him always slips away from the world in

order to dream of another life that could

have blossomed, had he chose Julia over
Esperanza. On the other hand, it is possible
that there was no real love to speak of, but
a desire for something else. He desired
youth. Although relatively young, he desired
the qualities that the youthful possessed:
vigor, passion, vitality. These are a few
things that he lacked as a person and to find
these in Julia gave him a sense of
completeness. It was a welcomed changed
in his life, and he wanted to hold on to it for
as long as he could, since even if he
couldn't be like Julia, he is comforted by the
thought that he was able to meet someone
who is different from everybody else, and
that she could have been his wife. He is
noted to be of a cool and calm demeanor,
which is why it seems out of character if he
suddenly bursts with energy.
Dead stars symbolize things that are
present but are left unspoken of. The love
between Alfredo and Julia seemed real, but
look closer and one can state that it was
hardly mutual, and that it was impossible to
last. Esperanza's devotion to Alfredo also
resembles love, but since she believes in
the "regenerative virtue of institution" more
than true love, it is safe to say that she is in
the relationship, because of moral
obligation. So what one thought as real (or
present) is now nothing but an illusion.
Yes its sad to belong to someone else
when the right one comes along. This song
was running in my head while I was reading
the story Dead Stars. Reading the story
brought me mixed emotions: anger,
sadness, excitement, confusion, etc. etc. I
was not sure if Ill feel sorry for Esperanza
or Julia. However, in the end, I felt sorry, for,
none other than the main character of the
story, Alfredo.
Alfredo, at his 30s had not yet married but
engaged to Esperanza for 3 years.
However, Esperanza patiently waited for
Alfredo to set the table.
Alfredo met Julia Salaz just before he and

Esperanza would get marry. He felt as if he

would be much happier beside Julia. To
make the long story short, he found himself
caught up in the middle of a rock and hard
place. He found himself falling in-love with
Julia. However, Julia found out that he
would be soon married to Esperanza. On
the other hand, Esperanza felt the coldness
of Alfredo. She knew why Alfredo was acting
such way and told him that she is not blind
to see what he was up to lately. He ended
up marrying Esperanza still, as Julia already
said goodbye to him and went back to her
Paz Marquez had shown the readers about
how human can be so irrational and
irresponsible at times. He had a good
picture of how we can be careless at
choosing relationships. We choose a person
so quickly without analyzing if we really love
them and will be happy with them for the
rest of our lives. Then we see that time is
running so fast and we are being left
behind. Colors of the past will fade and we
could not do anything to repaint it. We will
wish that we could bring back our youth but
we realize that we only have one life to
I imagined myself as Esperanza, as I have
been in a long relationship just like her. I
admire how Paz had described her
character. Its as if I could see myself in her
shoes. I wonder if I were her Would I do
the same? Probably yes, but if I could see
that the man Ill be marrying is not going to
be happy with me, Ill set him free.
Pazs short story showed some Filipino
traits like marrying at a certain age. In the
first part of the story, his sister and father

was talking about Alfredo who has not

married yet at his age of 30. Its as if he
should be bothered a lot if hes not yet
marrying at his age. In the Philippines, as I
could see, a lot of people marry at a young
age. A Filipino or Filipina should marry and
have children before turning 30 years old.
While in western countries, 30 is the start of
their best years, just like what the movie 13
going on 30 had shown. It does not matter
if they still dont have fianc at the age of
30. It doesnt bother them a lot if they have
not married yet. It also showed also some
Filipino traditions like celebration of the Holy
week. Paz showed how families spend time
together in the church.
The story was written in the year 1925,
when people less accepted broken
engagement, marriages and families. In my
opinion, the reason why Alfredo did not
choose to go after Julia was because it was
unacceptable at his time. In the 20th
century, Filipinos have already learned to
accept broken marriages or engagements;
and I think if Paz had written this story in the
20th century, he would have written a
different ending, and perhaps with a
different title.
I was wondering why the title is Dead Stars.
In the end, I realized its significance. It was
entitled as such to symbolize memories of
our youth.
Dead Stars means memories of the past
flying in our heaven of thoughts. We
sometimes look at them for a while and
realize that it has already passed away
already dead. We could not bring back the
real shine to normal.

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