The Blue Bouquet Analysis
|📌Published:||28 March 2021|
There comes a time in life when one transitions from viewing the world as innocent to realizing how cruel it could be from their own experiences. For some this happens as early as a child but for others it takes more time. In the case of the protagonist in “The Blue Bouquet,” they were quite naive and innocent. Due to this it took a slightly longer time for this transition to occur, but after being placed in a life threatening situation, they finally removed the veil of innocence from their eyes and allowed themselves to see the world in a new light. The short story written by Octavio Paz illustrates the necessity and importance of an individual to transition from innocent to experienced. The transition then allows the individual to grow mentally and be more aware of the world around them.
To begin the story, Paz sets the mood as innocent by using literary devices such as symbolism, foreshadowing, and personification. By also using deeper thinking of the text he sets clues for what is to come in the future. In the beginning, the protagonist sees a grey winged butterfly in his room. The intentional use of a butterfly rather than any other insect is symbolic because butterflies represent change. In the context of the story the change would be as to how someone changes mentally from their experience. To set the idea that the main character is innocent, the main character describes the night as “feminine.” This shows the inner child in the protagonist because usually the most important female in a child’s life is their mother. Mothers are seen as the symbol of safety and nurturing so when the protagonist describes the night as feminine he initially means it is safe. As he is leaving for his walk he runs into the owner of the boardinghouse. The one-eyed owner says “You better stay back,” and the protagonist shrugs it off. The protagonist shows his innocence off from his behaviour of shrugging off the advice given to him. He is not afraid of walking alone in the dark night because he does not know of the possible dangers lurking in the night. Paz narrates the owner of the boardinghouse as one-eyed which shows the owner is speaking from experience when he advises the protagonist to stay back. This interaction between the one-eyed owner and the protagonist was used to foreshadow the events to come. From the childish behaviours, decision to walk alone in the night, and literary devices used by Paz, it was obvious the protagonist was innocent, but this innocence was not to last for long.
Throughout the climax of the story Paz uses symbolism once again, and irony. As the protagonist walks in the night he describes everything he encounters with detail and feels content throughout the walk. The calmness during the middle of the night sets the mood as ominous due to the suspicion that this foolish mistake of walking alone in the middle of the night was going so well for this long. Paz deliberately sets the voice of the story the same for the walk because the protagonist's innocence is still here. While the protagonist is walking he “[feels] free and secure.” The sense of security is quite confusing considering he is walking alone in an unfamiliar town during this time of night. He is not thinking about any possible dangers that can come his way during this walk that he might not be able to protect himself against. This is because he has so much trust in the world that he believes that he should not need to protect himself as no harm will come to him. The irony comes into play when the main character hears someone come out of a doorway and after a short while hears “shuffle of sandals coming closer.” The protagonist then decides to run. This haste decision was quite immature since he put himself into this situation by not paying attention to his surroundings when he heard the doorway open and someone come out of it. The innocence let it fly over his head and the same innocence also prevents him from knowing how to act in such a situation so he simply decides to run away from the danger, although he cannot run forever. When the individual tells the protagonist that he wants his blue eyes the protagonist says “They’re brown not blue,” which shows how innocent he was about the statement that he takes it so literally. The individual does not want his eyes, he wants his innocence. The blue eyes could be a symbol of innocence because scientifically babies are born with blue eyes which later progress to different colors. After the protagonist then pleads “don’t kill me,” which shows his realization that he is in danger. His epiphany then allows him to realize his mistake of taking this walk because he is now put in a life threatening situation.
The tone of the story is now described with fear and danger. Paz once again uses symbolism and irony throughout this section of the story to describe the end result of the protagonist's epiphany. After the pleas of the protagonist the individual then brings a match to his eyes for the protagonist to prove his eyes were not blue. As he has the lit match to his eyes the individual says “Keep them open.” This symbolizes the idea that he sees the world in a new light. His eyes were finally “open” and out of the darkness of the innocent world he once saw and now he sees the world for what it is. The individual then lets him go and the protagonist has his eyes. He did not lose either of his eyes which shows symbolism once again. This symbolizes that he will value his eyes due to the fact that he almost lost them and is initially able to “see” the world, not only visually but also symbolically because now his innocence is taken away from him and he has gained his share of experience from the world. His description of this once innocent town has changed to be “deserted.” This realization has shown his awareness of his surroundings since he did not think about how deserted the town was when he decided to go on his walk. To end things off, he then “[leaves] the town the next day.” This shows that he has learnt what this town is like and it is not how he imagined it. The result of the protagonist's epiphany has helped him grow mentally and changed his view on the world and the people around him which shall cause him to be more mindful and aware of everything he’s around.
The literature has shown the need and significance of one's growth from innocent to experienced.The progression then teaches the individual to develop intellectually and become more mindful of the world around them. Throughout the story the protagonist's voice and tone changes dramatically from the beginning to the end, from the detail they put into everything from the beginning to the vague descriptions they gave of their surroundings at the end. In the beginning he behaved almost as if he was a child from his physical behaviour of shrugging off the one eyed owner's advice to his own mentality. During his epiphany this innocence was gone when he begged for the individual with the knife to let him go. After he was free, the transition was clearly visible when he decided to leave the town the next morning. When one grows mentally they change their outlook on life and it is assumed that for the rest of the protagonist's life he will not be so gullible and naive as he used to be since this innocence caused him to almost lose his life. The story has outlined the need of individuals to escape their innocence and grow as a person to protect themselves.