LANGUAGE AND HISTORY OF CATALONIA
To what extent is La Plaça del Diamant a feminist novel?
When considering to what extent Mercè Rodoreda’s La Plaça del Diamant is a feminist novel, it is important to first establish exactly what is meant by ‘feminist.’ Feminism is a social theory concerned with the liberation of women, and also with the idea that social and political inequalities favour men at the expense of women. Many feminists argue that gender roles and identities are socially constructed. Feminism also explores issues such as sexual objectification and oppression – both of which emerge during the novel.
La Plaça del Diamant is an account of one woman’s struggle through life. This involves Spanish society during the Civil War, marriage, her children and motherhood, and also any individual struggles that any person has within themselves. At the beginning of the novel, Natàlia, the main character and narrator, is young and innocent. Her mother is dead and she often feels alone and without guidance in her life. However, rather than resenting the fact that her mother is not there, she seems to look to her as a spiritual strength in her life, which points to a feminist aspect. It is interesting that she does not look to her father, who is still alive, for support, but to her dead mother, who she sees in a positive light, and there is a sense of reminiscing as she recalls things her mother used to say:
‘Quan les frontisses es rovellen, deia la meva mare, bona nit i bona hora.’ ( Mercè Rodoreda, La Plaça del Diamant, 1962, p.169 )
However, even though her mother is not alive to give her the advice she may need, Natàlia, like many women, learns quickly of life, turmoil and suffering. This begins when she falls for the attention of Quimet, who becomes her first husband. As soon as Quimet meets her at a dance in the Plaça del Diamant, he steals her identity by renaming her ‘Colometa,’ – his ‘little dove.’ Quimet is a domineering and abusive...