The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

by

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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Clara Barceló Character Analysis

Daniel meets Clara, his first love, because she’s the niece of Gustavo Barceló (who is Mr. Sempere’s colleague and friend). Notwithstanding the fact that she’s much older than him, Daniel is immediately infatuated, partly because of her helplessness (she’s blind), and he befriends her by reading to her for long hours. Their friendship and his devotion continue for several years until he discovers her in bed with her music teacher, Neri, which he considers a personal betrayal even though she wasn’t committed to him in any way. At the end of the novel Clara is a bitter and reclusive middle-aged woman; Daniel links her unhappiness to a desire for the adoration that she never valued in him. While Clara always appears dressed in white and is frequently described as angelic, she’s a very sharp and earthy character, certainly much less conventionally pure than an angel. This contradiction is a reminder that appearances—especially ones that characterize people as uniformly good or bad—are likely to be deceiving.

Clara Barceló Quotes in The Shadow of the Wind

The The Shadow of the Wind quotes below are all either spoken by Clara Barceló or refer to Clara Barceló. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Shadow of the Wind published in 2005.
Days of Ashes: Chapter 5 Quotes

I could not blot out Clara’s story about her father’s disappearance. In my world death was like a nameless and incomprehensible hand, a door-to-door salesman who took away mothers, beggars, or ninety-year-old neighbors, like a hellish lottery. But I couldn’t absorb the idea that death could actually walk by my side, with a human face and a heart that was poisoned by hatred, that death could be dressed in a uniform or a raincoat, queue up at a cinema, laugh in bars, or take his children out for walk…and then, in the afternoon, make someone disappear in the dungeons of Montjuïc Castle.

Related Characters: Daniel Sempere (speaker), Clara Barceló
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
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Clara Barceló Character Timeline in The Shadow of the Wind

The timeline below shows where the character Clara Barceló appears in The Shadow of the Wind. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Days of Ashes: Chapter 2
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Barceló introduces the woman as his niece, Clara, who is an “expert” on Carax. He scuttles into another room with the book, leaving... (full context)
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Clara is blind, and Daniel is entranced both by her beauty and the fact that he... (full context)
Days of Ashes: Chapter 3
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
That afternoon, Daniel falls in love with Clara Barceló. He characterizes this passion as disastrous, a “curse on his skin” from which he... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Clara explains that she became acquainted with Carax as a child in Provence, where her father... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Coincidence and Determinism Theme Icon
Clara continues that in France, she and her cousin Claudette had a mediocre tutor, Monsieur Roquefort,... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coincidence and Determinism Theme Icon
...a “horrible secret” about her own father’s collection of dolls. The novel ends tragically, but Clara doesn’t specify exactly how. (full context)
Days of Ashes: Chapter 4
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
The Red House was completely different from anything Clara had read before. She compares the experience of reading it to the excitement of a... (full context)
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Clara spent years looking for Carax’s work in shops and libraries, without success. Later, Roquefort heard... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
In the meantime, the Civil War had ended, and Clara returned to Barcelona with her mother. The city was not the place they remembered, haunted... (full context)
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Daniel volunteers to read out loud to Clara and is surprised when she accepts. Daniel believes she knew he was in love with... (full context)
Days of Ashes: Chapter 5
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
...questioned postwar Spain’s atmosphere of “stillness, poverty, and hidden resentment.” But contemplating the death of Clara’s father, he’s astonished that the fearsome men who committed murder during the war are now... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Daniel tells Mr. Sempere that he has befriended Clara and promised to read to her, without commenting on his sudden passion. To change the... (full context)
Days of Ashes: Chapter 6
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...home; it’s packed with the rare books, statues, and paintings that Barceló collects. Daniel finds Clara in a parlor overlooking the street, playing piano badly and serenely. Clara remarks that Barceló... (full context)
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
...snack, Daniel begins to read out loud, gradually relaxing and becoming subsumed in the narrative. Clara says the novel reminds her of Carax’s other works, and Daniel volunteers to return the... (full context)
Coincidence and Determinism Theme Icon
Clara confides that once when she was alone in the street, a stranger approached her and... (full context)
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Daniel feels tortured by his passion for Clara, since he has no hope that she’ll ever reciprocate it. Still, he remarks that people... (full context)
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...has clean clothes, and uses toothpaste. She also tells Daniel that he’s too obsessed with Clara, referencing radio stories about boys who fall in love with teachers and are cursed, but... (full context)
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Mr. Sempere also disapproves of Daniel’s devotion to Clara, and says he ought to spend more time with friends his own age. Daniel informs... (full context)
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Daniel becomes increasingly pained by his love for Clara, but refuses to address it. Whenever she tells him they need to talk, he makes... (full context)
An Empty Plate: Chapter 7
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
For his sixteenth birthday, Daniel decides to throw a dinner party, inviting only Barceló, Clara, and Bernarda. Mr. Sempere thinks it’s a bad idea and that they won’t come, but... (full context)
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...cooks an enormous dinner, but Barceló has to leave town for a business trip and Clara says that she has a music lesson. Only Bernarda comes. Enraged, Daniel runs out of... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...Daniel realizes the stranger smells like burned paper. The stranger ominously mentions Daniel’s friendship with Clara, and Daniel realizes that this is the man who approached her in the street. He... (full context)
An Empty Plate: Chapter 8
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Daniel decides he has to warn Clara, whom he knows is home alone, and take the book away from her house, where... (full context)
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Daniel enters the apartment and walks through the many rooms towards Clara’s bedroom, the apartment flashing in the lightning. He retrieves the book from its usual shelf... (full context)
An Empty Plate: Chapter 9
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Instead Daniel finds Clara naked in bed, having sex with Neri. He stands paralyzed for several seconds until Neri... (full context)
True to Character: Chapter 11
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...the dramatic night of his birthday, Daniel finds it surprisingly easy to wean himself off Clara and focus on other things. He’s particularly distracted by his work at the bookshop, which... (full context)
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...he is constantly on the run. Daniel recognizes the name of the man who killed Clara’s father, and notices that Fermín turns pale when he talks about him. (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 32
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
...as well and urging him to take a bath and compose himself. When Daniel emerges, Clara is standing in the doorway, just as enthralling as she was four years ago. She... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 40
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...the Barceló house, but he’s not there either. While she has him on the phone, Clara announces that she’s getting married, and Daniel is upset. (full context)
Postmortem
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...in the hospital to find Mr. Sempere, Bea, and Fermín standing guard over him. Barceló, Clara, Tomás, Bernarda, and their neighbors arrive soon after. Mr. Sempere has brought Daniel’s fountain pen... (full context)
Dramatis Personae
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
...devotes himself to reprinting editions of Carax’s work, which still don’t sell many copies. Meanwhile, Clara got married and quickly divorced. Now she lives an increasingly reclusive life and is growing... (full context)