John Updike’s "Tristao and Isabella"

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The Love Story of Tristao and Isabel

The black young man Tristao Rapaso and white young lady Isabel Leme have been in love. Their parents cannot allow this relationship to be and that is why the couple has to run southwards so that they can be together. They kept defending their love which was filled with so many challenges. Isabel had been from a high class family but has to learn to live a low class life. On the other hand Tristao have been in low class without a father. They find themselves moving to different places from gold mines where they stay for some time before proceeding in fear of Isabel father's men catching up with them. Tristao's mother had cursed their relationship. They are lucky to make it together but unfortunately, they end up landing in South America. Life there is extremely difficult for them. They have got nothing on themselves until they are unable to get something to eat. They are eventually saved by a troop of colonial fanatics in the desert. Tristao and Isabel instead of being saved, they land themselves in more problems. This is because they get themselves in the slavery at this moment. Isabel is made to have sexual relationship with other men. Her situation is more like prostitution, and she ends up in the family way (Mitsch, 1994, p200). She gives birth to children who do not belong to Tristao while her man Tristao is engaged in slavery. Tristao is able to connect with the protectors, provider and the defaulters of the civil war.

The Transformation and Challenges

Tristao and Isabel finally manage to switch their races through the help of a magician called Shaman. They are able to make other impossibilities possible due to this transformation that they have gone through. They are not easily falling into the line of offensiveness. Life is not improving because it now seem like a master, the now whit man Tristao is falling in love with a slave, Isabel now that she is black. It is viewed like a taboo by these people who have been enslaving them. Racial prejudice and discrimination is advanced at this time and gender discrimination is also established highly. Isabel does not care provided she is with the man that she loves, she can be able to conquer any other evil that comes her way. Isabel now being Africanized, they assume that their parents will not recognize them because of the skin color. They therefore start their journey eastwards heading back to Rio De Janeiro. Unfortunately on the way the encounter so many challenges since Isabel's father is still on the lookout since the time they eloped. Isabel and Tristao hold on to the belief that each is the other's fate and life has to continue and they are able to always remain strong for their relationship.

The Element of Magical Realism and Symbolism

The element of magical realism has been developed well by the author John Updike. After enloping they are able to get to parts of Brazil where magic still reign. There is an ancient very powerful magician. He uses some traditional charms in order to transform them. Tristao Rapaso is switched to a white man and Isabel Leme to a black lady. The more the challenges they encounter the more loving they become. They are so faithful that they will one day be happy lovers. This can be considered work of fiction because it is not ordinary that people can be able to switch their races just like that.

The theme of symbolism is brought out through the ring that is presented to Isabel by Tristao. A ring is a symbol of marriage but this particular ring Tristao had stolen it from an American tourist. Having being stolen changes the meaning and as a matter of fact this is to the negativity. They eventually become a couple but both of them are unfaithful because of the circumstances that they encounter. Life is not easy in their relationship. They are going through high levels of poverty, since they can only manage to be low class members. At times they lack even food which is an extreme form of poverty. There is also captivity where they are made to become slaves after being rescued from the jaws of hunger. They are made to engage in so many terrible slaves' work. Life is quite difficult for them. There is the theme of privation where they have to move away from their parents who cannot bear to see them together. For twenty years they are away from people who were their family. The chapter purpose to make the reader aware that no matter the challenges that people who love one another go through, they should remain committed to one another and their love will endure everything. The readers evaluation is that John Updike has really influenced the reader to get to understand the interesting work that he has written. The story of these two lovers has motivated the reader to understand that with passion everything is a possibility.

Work cited

Mitsch, Ruthmarie H. "Brazil by John Updike."Arthuriana 4.2 (1994): 200-201.

November 24, 2023



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