Isabel Allende's If You Touched My Heart

718 Words3 Pages
“If You Touched My Heart,” written by Isabel Allende, tells the depressing tale of South America. The continent’s history is one of manipulation and exploitation by Western colonial powers and their puppet governments. These realities are brought to life by the story of Amadeo Peralta, a ruffian who descended from a long line of criminals, and Hortensia, an innocent and simple girl. Allende uses Hortensia’s story as a parable recounting the history and the plight of South America. When Amadeo first encounters Hortensia, she is young and naïve, which allows him to bewitch her easily. She then decided to accompany him to service him, just as South America was so willing to be of service to Western colonial powers because they did not have what…show more content…
The western colonists only did things that benefitted themselves while they ignored the plight and deprivation of the South American people. Similar to the European colonial powers, Peralta only acted to benefit and to pleasure himself while keeping Hortensia imprisoned and deprived. Peralta kept Hortensia locked up in a sugar mill, which was a major industry in South America. Historically, sugar mills and the process of growing sugar cane relied heavily on slave or slave like labor. Because of this, the South American people were dehumanized and seen merely as beings to be exploited, yet they were productive, which is represented by the fervor and frequency of Hortensia and Amadeo Peralta’s early encounters. But this prosperity was short lived, once the demand for sugar cane decreased significantly, much of what had been formerly invested in South America was forgotten and abandoned. “Before a month had passed, Amadeo Peralta was tired of games, which they were beginning to repeat… Once he forgot about her… and found her on the verge of death” (Allende 85-86). Thus, Hortensia, South America, is entombed and left to die in her former industry and prosperity. All that the South American people have is a relic of what was once prosperous just as she is rotting away because of

    More about Isabel Allende's If You Touched My Heart

      Open Document