The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

by

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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The Shadow of the Wind: City of Shadows: Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Daniel reads the letter several times before dawn and then leaves the house and takes the train out of the city to the return address written on the letter, 32 Avenida del Tibidabo. The neighborhood is full of grand but decaying mansions obscured by walls and hedges. At the Aldaya house, Daniel tries unsuccessfully to peer through the overgrown vegetation around the gate, only making out a defunct fountain and several broken statues.
The Aldayas’ neighborhood shows that they were clearly wealthy, before circumstances somehow turned against them. Their unexplained demise is a reminder that no one’s position in this novel is static. Rather, everyone participates in some kind of cycle.
Themes
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Daniel meets the caretaker of the neighboring house, who has worked in the neighborhood since 1920, and pumps him for information about the Aldayas. The caretaker says the Aldayas lost their Spanish fortune during the anarchist period of the Civil War and moved, with their son Jorge, to a property in South America. When Daniel asks about Penélope, the caretaker says he must be mistaken, because the Aldayas didn’t have any daughters.
Now Daniel knows that the man threatening Carax in Penélope’s letter was her older brother, Jorge. The Aldaya family’s structure is remarkably similar to that of the Aguilars. Because of this, Carax and Jorge’s enmity is a bad omen for Daniel and Tomás’s friendship.
Themes
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
The caretaker says the house will probably be demolished, which is a good thing since the Aldayas were “a shady lot.” Now that the house is abandoned, the neighbors claim that some strange presence haunts the house, sobbing. The son of the caretaker’s employer went in the house one night and claims to have heard voices.
The mysterious presences haunting the Aldaya house are similar to the noises Doña Aurora hears in Carax’s childhood apartment, linking the two houses together in spite of their very different characters.
Themes
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Before he leaves, Daniel takes a last look at the house, imagining Penélope having her picture taken in the courtyard and Carax looking at the photograph, “contemplating a future as wide and luminous as that avenue.”
Once again, Daniel identifies himself with Carax by reliving moments of the author’s life. Notably, Daniel strengthens his bond with the author by coming to perceive Penélope as a love object in the same way Carax does.
Themes
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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