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Summary of “Aura” by Carlos Fuentes

The story started with the protagonist, Felipe Montero, spotting a newspaper advertisement about a high-paying job. He had forced himself to ignore it. But during the next day, he noticed that the job was still open not to mention an increase in the salary. So he rushed through the crowded Mexico City towards the address in the newspaper advertisement. He managed to get to the address but when he got inside the house, it was pitched-black. A weak voice was calling from upstairs. When he got there he saw an old woman, bedridden and almost seemingly dying.

She is his employer, Consuelo, a widow of a deceased general. Consuelo wanted him to work on his dead husband’s memoirs. Consuelo had said that one of the terms of the job is that Felipe Montero should reside in her house. He almost had turned down the job but Consuelo’s beautiful daughter Aura had walked in. Felipe was immediately magnetized to the beauty of Aura. Aura guides Felipe to his room, which relatively illuminated as opposed to the dark house. He hears meowing of cats then suddenly Aura appears to tell him that they are the only ones having dinner.

After the dinner he was handed the first part of the memoirs of General Llorente. Felipe Montero had begun browsing through the memoirs. The next morning he had heard another cat violently meowing. He saw the cat screeching in agony as it was engulfed in fire. Then after eating breakfast, Felipe had fantasized about Aura. Then after that, he had a terrible and mysterious nightmare. There was a spooky hand and eye that is ringing a bell to warn him to leave the house. He didn’t have any chance to heed the warning. When he had woken up, someone was sensually caressing him.

Aura was caressing his hair and lips, the next thing you know they are making love. Then while making love Aura had whispered to Felipe “you are my husband…” (Fuentes 75-77) The next morning, Felipe had received the next batch of the memoirs where it would be revealed that the couple was married when Consuelo was only fifteen years of age. Felipe calculated her present age and the answer was over a hundred years old. The memoirs also revealed that Consuelo has this weird habit of torturing cats. The protagonist, Felipe Montero, doesn’t want to take any chances or any risks at all.

Most of his energy is consumed by making sure that the status quo where he is safe remains unshaken. This characteristic of the protagonist reveal to the readers that he is afraid of change. The story started with Felipe Montero spotting a newspaper advertisement for a high-paying and possibly life-altering job (Fuentes 1-8). But he had his doubts and had spend much time procrastinating, he applied for the job eventually. He may not be impulsive when it comes to most of things, but when it comes. Consuelo is the generous but mysterious employer of Felipe Montero.

Consuelo is the wife of a deceased General with the name of Llorente. Her age just shows as she is already fragile in figure, as she is over the hundred-year-old mark. We could assume that if it wasn’t for the money, Felipe Montero would have backed out from the job because Consuelo has also a weird idea of hospitality. She had insisted for Felipe Montero to stay in dark and gloomy house. The house is described by this line “this house will always be in darkness (Fuentes 31-35) Aura is the beautiful aunt of the mysterious widow Consuelo. Just like her aunt, Aura has an air of mystery with her.

The point of view of the story is quite a complex one. It employs an innovative use of narration in the second-person which is a mix of present and future tense that has an effect of blurring the concept of linear time: past, present, and future. I guess the ending will be like Aura revealing something that would tingle the spine of the readers. Maybe it is a revelation that Aura is not really human, maybe the truth behind her has something to do with all the cats in Consuelo’s house.

References

Fuentes, C. (1965) Aura: Bilingual Edition (Kemp trans). New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

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