Part One: the life of a student in Madrid
In this first part shows the process of spiritual and intellectual formation of Andrew. Occupies almost all the university stage of the protagonist. We know the family members: Don Pedro, his father, whom he despised for tyrannical and hypocritical, Alexander's older brother, who also despised by playboy and parasite, Peter, who feels some sympathy, Margarita, anodyne , resigned, good, Luisito, the younger brother, weak and sickly, which has compassion.
During these years he met friends disparate: Lamela, Julio Aracil, Montaner, Ibarra. Andrés evolve psychologically and intellectually. His first readings are novels, but little by little deeper into the philosophy.
Life, the illness of his brother, his time in the hospital San Juan de Dios (the cruelty of physicians and patients dealing with) and his reading of Schopenhauer, it will become increasingly pessimistic. Mood begins to abandon its assets, it becomes sad and increasingly less hope of being able to change human nature.
Went to work as an intern in a hospital. There he realizes that he has more vocation medical psychologist. Describe the atmosphere of corruption prevailing in the hospital.
Part Two: the carnaria
Andrew knows the Minglanilla (Dona Leonarda, Nini and Lulu). Engages a certain friendship with Lulu.
One night, Andrew and some friends, made a tour of some places in Madrid: the home of Mrs. Virginia, abortion and madam, that of Villasuso, author of dramas, an old fashioned romantic who has failed to provide a decent life for their daughters Pure and Ernestina. We are introduced to Dona Venancia, near Lulu, and her son Manolo the Chafandín, a drunk and lazy Cave. He describes the strange inhabitants of the house of Lulu: Don Cleto, the Black, the Maestrino, Don Martin ...
In the last chapter of this part there is a conversation between Andrew and his uncle Iturrioz. Andrew wants to discuss with the philosophical interpretation of the residents of the house of Lulu. The aspects discussed can be summarized as follows:
From the roof in keeping this conversation there is a school and a convent of friars. Symbolize two attitudes in life: life (the school) and artificial (unnatural voluntary recollection of the convent).
This part ends with Andrés wondering which way, what attitude to take in life. He is sensitive and intelligent, and not ready to take on the role ofhunter, knows no function in that environment: life.
Part Three: sadness and pain
This part begins with the final year of Andrew. Luisito worse. Andrew travels to Valencia to find a house that Luisito can spend some time and improve with the pure air of the area, seems to have tuberculosis. Finish the race and goes to Valencia. He lives there quietly for a while, taking care of her brother and enjoying nature.
Andrew's father can not financially support two homes, Andrew, Margaret and Luisito, they go to live with relatives Valencia capital. Andrés looking for work is not easy, and decides to do a PhD. Winters in Valencia.
Return to Madrid and read the thesis. Two months later he moved to Burgos to replace a doctor. There goes the placid days of his life, serene, no existential concerns. Receives news that his brother is dead. Following the death of his brother suffers a further evolution from suffering pessimistic before the new nihilistic indifference.
Part Four: Inquisition
Back to Madrid. Meeting with Ibarra, has improved, he studied engineering and inventor.
Further discussions with his uncle Iturrioz:
Part Five: experience in town
Andrés Alcolea march, village of La Mancha, as a physician owner. They are staying at an inn and meets Juan Sanchez, the town doctor, and the town clerk. The town is very hot. Spend the summer. Arriving in September left the inn and goes like a house guest of the people.
Dorothea, the landlady, is beautiful, and her husband, pickles, a taciturn. Andrés cure the miller's daughter, that would create enmity with Sanchez, but is gaining prestige as a physician among the people. Hurtado observes and describes the life and character of the people, his willingness antisocial, chieftaincy, individualism, lack of concerns ... Behold this way of life, the resigned attitude, delayed and uncritical of these people, and growing, to the disappointment his nihilism2. Concludes that it is better to stop thinking, and she decided to see how life goes.
Alcolea happens in winter. Begins to frequent the casino and met the pianist and Don Blas Carreño, wealthy gentleman. By quirky characters that Andrew feels sympathy. Don Blas live far from the truth and stay in the language and way of life of Cervantes. But Andrew begins to get bored and despair among the people. In an attempt to distract intends to write, change the philosophical readings of literature and history ... but it is poisoned by the philosophy and nothing motivates him.
Find new ways of life to leave the state of disappointment in which it is. So, think you should marry, but is not willing to sacrifice their independence. Then decide to change your eating and lifestyle habits, and improvement. Enters a sort of ataraxia 3 and is relaxed. But every time antipathy shown by the townspeople and is reciprocated. Alcolea still feel more marginalized than in Madrid.
In the spring calls for the resignation and leaves. The night before his departure makes love with Dorothy. Andrés feel entitled to commit this act, the cuckolded husband is a miserable fool who does not deserve his wife. Back to Madrid to Aranjuez and spend three days there. Is baffled by her attitude.
Part Six: Madrid experience
Back in Madrid comes to war with Cuba and the Philippines. Andrew gets a replacement of three months. Before the war, notes the opening of Spanish patriotism, chattering excitedly. After the disaster the world still lives with total indifference to what happened.
Iturrioz visits his uncle and has another conversation with him in which he speaks of Alcolea and resigned spirit of the poor. Iturrioz launches Nietzschean thesis that the slave is a slave spirit, cowardice of the poor is what prevents you from moving forward, evolve and get free from its fetters.
Rediscover Montaner, is unemployed, and Julio, who is doing very well in life, he has thrived thanks to their lack of scruples. Also see Ibarra, wants to go abroad to patent their inventions. Spain is a country that supports or believes in progress. Lulu Reunion also has managed to open a store by marriage of his sister Nini concerned with a sugar daddy.
Andrew gets a job as a doctor of Hygiene. It is becoming more antisocial. Scorns equally to rich and poor: one for operators and others to be exploited resignedly.
Leaves the job because dealing with prostitutes, pimps and love the increasingly depressed. Lulu continues to visit and get a job as a doctor in La Esperanza assisting poor. Dealing with the poor, ignorance, misery and resignation absurd, make it more bitter and aggressive character.
In one of his visits to old acquaintances lies Villasuso gone mad and live in abject poverty. Days later he dies and his friends wake bohemian poets behave like him a pathetic and surreal assuming that the deceased suffered catalepsy 4.
Increasingly frequent Lulu. He states, without passion, like almost everything you do in life.
Part Seven: the experience of the child.
In another of his talks with Iturrioz, Andrew, very sensitive on the issue of genetic inheritance, he raises his uncle the problem that would cause the fact that two people marry and procreate weak.
Make the decision to marry Lulu. Get a job as a translator of medical books, and away from the humane treatment of patients. Enters a period of peace and quiet. Another ataraxia.
All goes well until it starts to get depressed at Lulu's refusal to have children Andrés. Andrew gave, and his wife get pregnant again the old fears. Afraid to open that window into the abyss that makes you dizzy. He had managed an organized life, quiet, dull, and fears that the responsibility that comes with that child to wake up all the ghosts that had managed to sleep with so much effort. Start taking morphine for not thinking.
At birth the child died a few days and Lulu. The day of the funeral Andrew suicidal poisoning.
The book ends with the reflection Iturrioz. Andrew died without pain, not driven by suicidal despair, nor for the suffering of losing loved ones. Is nihilism. It was a misfit for life and it offered a cozy little hole with the marriage of Lulu. The disappearance Lulu does not know what to do, in the absence of it would probably have committed suicide before. In reality it was always dead. His excessive consciousness prevented her from enjoying life.
At first we found a rambling structure, appear intermingled characters, stories, situations, places ... that make it difficult to organize the work.
But this is at first sight, deep inside there is a very coherent structure in the novel, and is the figure of the protagonist, present in all chapters, and psychological development, which confer unity to the work.
53 chapters divided into 7 parts.
We propose the following:
Baroja describes the main characters through developments in the course of the novel are suffering their character and ideas. In contrast, the secondary characters are described from the time of submission.
Undisputed protagonist of the novel. Is present in the 53 chapters of the book.
Begins to form intellectually with the support of heterogeneous knowledge, in your library are: treated in Medicine and Biology, novels, A History of the French Revolution ...
Already in his student days he realizes that he cared more about ideas and feelings of patients that the symptoms of the disease.
The rash with Republican ideas, but really know their political leanings. Not opted for any class, despised both rich and poor, the defects of both. He believes in classes of people, and shows a constant trend in aristocratic contempt for the vulgarity.
He is a man of action who encounters a large mass ignorant, cowardly and resigned, unable to change the injustices of life. This, coupled with his rebellious and critical spirit embittered him and make it a pessimistic man.
Andrew is cold love, no passion for anything in life, only to unravel the logic that drives it and the mysteries involved. In the absence of metaphysical answers and disappointment by human behavior ends sinking into an existential angst that lead to suicide.
Physically we know nothing of him, Baron seems to focus all our attention on the psychological aspect.
Why a man of action?
Despite his pessimism and skepticism. Andrew demonstrates throughout the novel as a man of action. Shows a critical and rebellious spirit. Struggle, when you have time, against hypocrisy, cruelty and cowardice. Thus:
Andrew's friend, co-race, a Semitic type. Realistic, materialistic, pragmatic. Smarter than smart. An adapted to life in which, thanks to its lack of scruples, get thrive and live comfortably. Physically he is brown and bulging eyes.
Blond, blue eyes, rather than Semitic type of Iberian. Monarchist, a supporter of the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. At first ideological clashes with Andrew, but eventually come to have some complicity. Andrew engages some friends with him, discuss politics, literature and music, but likes it because it shows you have ideas.
Sick of arthritis. Little is known about him. Healing ends and surprises with his skills as an inventor. He goes to Belgium to patent their inventions in the absence of Spanish initiative to invest in new projects.
Engineering student. Wagnerian.
Older student. Andrew made his friend because they both had an inner life different from other students. Romantic and quixotic, with his idealism distorts reality to the point of seeing his beloved ugly as a beautiful lady. At the same time is fun-loving and often drunk, but far from being contradicted by their extreme attitudes, he says he practices a practical idealism, his motto was there to give the body what the body and the soul that is soul.
Professor Andrew. Publish a book that makes an application of mathematics to biology. At first Andrew becomes a follower of his theories, but ends up realizing that their talk has no scientific rigor.
Not very graceful but funny, sarcastic humor and some acid. It's smart, neurotic, pessimistic and a little something in it for since birth showed little strange attitudes. It is not conventional and not very feminine for her courage and wit seems different from other women, hence Andrew likes to talk with her, but, as married women succumb to the instinct of wanting to be a mother.
Dona Leonarda and Nini
Lulu's mother and sister. Coming less and unable to accept the reality of their poverty. Live the story and only aspire to a marriage of convenience for the kick Nini state of misery in which they live.
Poet, playwright. Their romance and bohemian lifestyle you are infertile because Andrew is an active attitude towards life and enable him to live decently. He died insane and penniless.
It is not characterized as a character in the play. It is rather a pretext of the author, a kind of intellect in the service of intellect Andrés antagonist for it to discuss scientific and philosophical theses. Andrew died, leaving only a lucid intelligence to interpret the true causes of death of the protagonist and to close the novel: Iturrioz.
Dorotea. The patron saint of Alcolea. Good, beautiful, resigned to convention, but not buried in them: he knows to take the opportunity that gives Andrew the night before his departure.
Pepinito. Husband of Dorothy. Vulgar, taciturn, wild.
Don Juan Sanchez. Medical Alcolea. Hypocritical and bad person. Only aspires to have customers and prestige even over professional ethics.
Don Blas Carreño and Pianist. The first gentleman off in Alcolea, and second, his friend. Are a couple nice and extravagant. They communicate with the language of Cervantes and live oblivious to reality.
The Choriset. Luisito Friendly games during his stay in Valencia. To be insensitive, savage and very healthy physically, it represents the antithesis of Luisito. This child seems to have settled and under the shade of the tree of life. Their appearance, like so many characters in the work is temporary, but significant for the thesis of the main character, toughness and insensitivity do a perfectly tailored to the life that will undoubtedly dominate.
Between Lulu neighborhood we can highlight some characters like:
Doña Venancia. Encarna resignation and sacrifices of the poor. Assumes its social condition with no hope of improvement, like a genetic inheritance. He gives all, no waiting. A so Andrew told him we found the world and leave it.
Black's aunt. Alcohol and Republican.
Doña Pitusa. Begging, was fond of spirits, and lived with his son, chop, funeral home worker, vindictive and spiteful.
La Paca. Gallega, owner of a guesthouse.
Don Cleto. The philosopher of the neighborhood. Rundown, but cultured and educated. Emphasizes his stoic nature.
The Maestrino. Manchego, lives in a drugstore., Pedantic and Sabiondo.
Uncle miseries. The nickname comes from his job as a loan shark. Is a mean, dark character.
The action takes place in about ten years. Perhaps Andrew died when he was 28 years or so.
The novel highlights the discomfort of the period and, in particular, the ideology of the generation of 98 to which he belonged Baroja. Thus:
There is usually a very Nietzschean critique in which he praises the man of action. Andrew Contempt is directed toward all those who are not and will not have to be: the rich because they live off in place, the poor for not fighting to stop being the idealists and poets for its comic and ridiculous heroism making them socially inactive.
We are, above all, compared to a philosophical novel. Existential conflicts are the focus of the work. Spain, the existential problems and analysis and reflection of intra are the pillars of the novel and the essay noventayochistas. This work is one of the most representative of Generation. The three themes appear sufficiently reflected.