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The Imitation of the Rose
Transcript of The Imitation of the Rose
Two Sentence Summary
Relation to Family Ties
representation of society and males
judgement of mental illnesses
he treats her cautiously, yet is unable to understand her
perfection and beauty
the roses represent Laura herself and the idea of self-sufficiency
the excruciating decision she makes about giving them away versus keeping them herself parallels how she always chooses to accommodate and unburden others rather than assert her own thoughts
by giving them away, she is being submissive to expectations of a woman's role in society and losing independence
A woman recovering from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder is waiting at home for her husband to take her to a friend's dinner party.
Upon his arrival, Laura shares the news of her relapse into her mental disorders after a painstaking contemplation of giving away roses to her friend.
1. What does the last sentence in the story mean by comparing Laura to a "train that has already departed"?
2. Why is the short story called "The Imitation of the Rose"?
3. Why was Laura released from the Convent if her mental illness was not cured?
4. Why did Laura love the roses even though they also disturbed her?
5. At the end of the story, why did Armando just watch Laura, aged, tired, and strange, without saying a word?
dependance on others
pg 54: compares Laura to a cat who had "unexpectedly found a saucer of milk waiting outside"
obligation to "fit into society"
pg. 55: she feels guilty for forgetting to drink milk as instructed by her doctor to relieve anxiety, thinking she "betrayed Armando and their devoted friends through her neglect"
In "Family Ties", Lispector discusses the relationship between family members that connect as well as bind them to each other
Lispector highlights the role of a wife in a relationship in "The Imitation of the Rose"
pg 53-54: "A man at peace is one who, oblivious to his wife's presence, could converse with another man about the latest news in the headlines"
"And she herself, returning to play that insignificant role with gratitude"
Analysis by Cindy Hong, Calvin Liu, Jessica Peng, Victoria Tran and Mandy Yao
Submissive, obedient, passive at the beginning
- pg. 54: he wants her husband to be oblivious to her, and to return to"play an insignificant role with gratitude"
- pg. 60: she blames herself for her maid's rude behaviour "the fault was really hers because she did not always command respect"
Has obsessive compulsive disorder
- pg 55: "she had always been tidy and clean, with an obsession for personal hygiene and a certain horror of disorder"
- pg 54: "Laura gazed at herself in the mirror. And she herself? How long has it been?"
- pg 63: "And, as if she had not just been thinking precisely this, vaguely aware that she had been thinking precisely this, and quickly dismissing her embarassment upon recognizing herself as being a little tedious
- pg 54 and pg 59: her thoughts are narrated as numbered lists when she thinks about the process of what to do or what would happen
In the end, she becomes unburdened and independent
- she was going to smile at her husband when he arrived home to ensure everything was okay; however, she doesn't smile
- pg 70: "so that she might dispel the anxious expectancy on his face, which always came mixed with the childish victory of having arrived in time to find his boring, good-hearted, and diligent wife
"Devious and shameless"
- pg 60: Laura's ovarian insufficiency causes her low thick hips to walk slowly; however, Armando likes them, saying "What good would it do to me to be married to a ballerina?"
Unable to understand his wife
- pg. 70: "As if he would never understand, he averted his smiling, distrusting face... As if he would never understand"
- pg. 71: he spied her cautiously, almost her enemy"
- he averted his eyes, mortified by his wife's shamelessness as she sat there unburdened and serene"
-"his face took on for an instat an expression of comic detachment"
- "aged and strange, he watched her"
Laura is waiting at home for her husband to take her to Carlota's house
Laura drinks milk in order to relieve her anxiety
Following doctor's instructions
Laura sees the bouquet of roses in her apartment she bought earlier and imagines Carlota's pleasant reaction if she gave them to her at the party
Laura is impressed by the perfection of the rose and begins to contemplate giving them to Carlota
Laura decides to give the roses away to the maid
Laura regrets giving the roses away
Feels like she has missed the opportunity to possess such beautiful idea
Laura tells her husband that "it came back"
pg. 55: "When they had given her The Imitation of Christ to read, with the zeal of a donkey she had read the book without understanding it"
We liked this moment because this describes how we felt when we read The Imitation of the Rose
pg. 55: "...but may god forgive her, she had felt that anyone who imitated Christ would be lost - lost in the light, but dangerously lost. Christ was the worst temptation"
This directly parallels the story of The Imitation of the Rose and summarized the story well. In The Imitation of the Rose, those who imitated the
, a symbol for perfection, would be lost because it is human nature to strive for perfection.
Striving for perfection is the worst temptation as this idea will never be acheived