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El árbol de oro
Transcript of El árbol de oro
El árbol de oro
Ana María Matute
The story was told in the first person point of view of a young girl. Because of an illness that she had, she left the city to live in the village with her grandfather. She explains that she got bored in the house, so in the fall her grandfather sent her to the school of Miss Leocadia.
She especially remembers a thin boy named Ivo. He was the son of a poor sharecropper, but still the other girls and boys admired him.
He had the gift of attracting attention to himself at all times, captivating those that listened. But the thing that people envied most about Ivo was his possession of a coveted key to the tower. It was a small tower in the corner of the school where the students' reading books were kept.
The teacher would always give only Ivo the key to get the books for the class, though no one really knew why. And because of this, Ivo prided himself.
Since then, the narrator's desire to see the tree grew. And then something she secretly wished had happened. Ivo was sick and Miss Leocadia gave another the key to the tower: Mateo Heredia.
After a few days she told him "If you give me the key, I'll give you something in return. I'll leave for a while and go during recess when no one will see."
So she emptied her piggy bank and finally got the coveted key. She was so excited, but when she bent down and looked through the crack in the wall, she only discovered one thing: the dry land of the plain stretching to the sky. She felt a great disappointment, and felt like she had been scammed.
Ana María Matute
Two summers later, she returned to the village. She had forgotten about the key and golden tree. One day passing the cemetary, she saw something strange. A beautiful tree with broad, golden leaves all brightly lit.
Something came to her mind, like a dream, and she thought "It's a golden tree."
She looked at it and on the tombstone it read: IVO MARQUEZ, TEN YEARS OLD
At first she was sad, but then felt a strange and very great joy.
After school one day, the narrator felt a great curiosity and asked Ivo what he did in the tower. She swore she would not tell anyone.
Then Ivo explained "I see a golden tree. A completely gold tree: branches, trunk, leaves... The leaves do not fall ever. And it shines bright."
"What a liar you are!"
"Don't believe it" he replied, "No one shall ever see my golden tree! It's mine! Miss Leocadia knows, and dares not give the key to anyone... While I live, no one can go there and see my tree!"
The significance of the golden tree is that it symbolizes how precious life is.
The sight of this golden tree caused her to reflect on the nature of life. It brings into focus a renewed appreciation for it, and she feels satisfied and comforted by the encounter with a memory from the past.
Ana María Matute is a Spanish novelist and short story writer. She was born in 1926 in Barcelona, Spain as the second child of five. Her family lived in poverty in Barcelona in the town of Mansilla de la Sierra.
As a ten year old, the Spanish Civil War began and majority of Matute’s stories create an image of what life was like after the civil war through children of poverty.
Some of her most important novels are Los Abel, En esta tierra, Primera memoria, La torre vigía, El río, and Olvidado rey Gudú.
She has been nominated for the Nobel Prize, earned the Nadal
Prize - a Spanish literacy prize - and was the third woman in
the three hundred years of the Royal Academy of the Spanish
Language to become a member.