The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

by

Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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The Fountain Pen Symbol Icon

As a child, Daniel becomes fascinated by a fountain pen said to have to belonged to Victor Hugo, which Mr. Sempere eventually buys for him. Later, he finds out that in fact Nuria found the pen in Paris and bought it for Carax, her lover at the time. The fountain pen demonstrates Daniel and his father’s unconventional but enduring relationship. Mr. Sempere’s initial inability to afford it shows that for him fatherhood isn’t defined by wealth or power, as it is for many of the novel’s other men. His purchase of the pen years after Daniel’s initial interest shows a kindness and thoughtfulness that fathers like Fortuny, Mr. Aguilar, or Mr. Aldaya never possess. The gift also shows that Mr. Sempere values and supports his son’s creative eccentricities, while other fathers view these things as signs of weakness or femininity in their sons. It’s important to note that while Daniel sometimes chafes at his family’s humble life or searches out more worldly father figures, he’s ultimately very loyal to his father; he never reproaches him for not being able to buy the pen, and years later the gift draws them together after a quarrel. The pen is thus an endorsement of Mr. Sempere’s brand of fatherhood.

The pen also forms a link between Daniel and one of his other father figures, Carax. On one level, their mutual fascination with the pen shows how invested they both are in the world and history of literature, a character trait that makes them very similar. Moreover, the fact that they were both drawn to it in pawnshops in separate cities shows that the likeness between them and the coincidences that draw them together are too manifold to be random. Even after Daniel puts an end to the similarities between him and Carax by killing Fumero, thus extricating himself from Carax’s tragic narrative, Carax appears mysteriously in the hospital and Daniel gives him the fountain pen as a sign of friendship. Years later, Carax sends Daniel his new novel with an inscription written in the fountain pen. Even as Daniel is settled in a highly realistic adulthood, the fountain pen reemerges as a symbol of the Gothic intrigue and sense of fate that dominated his adolescence.

The Fountain Pen Quotes in The Shadow of the Wind

The The Shadow of the Wind quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Fountain Pen. 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.
Postmortem Quotes

I can’t remember his exact words, or the sound of his voice. I do know that he held my hand and I felt as if he were asking me to live for him, telling me I would never see him again. What I have not forgotten is what I told him. I told him to take that pen, which had always been his, and write again.

Related Characters: Daniel Sempere (speaker), Julián Carax
Related Symbols: The Fountain Pen
Page Number: 471
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Shadow of the Wind PDF

The Fountain Pen Symbol Timeline in The Shadow of the Wind

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Fountain Pen appears in The Shadow of the Wind. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Days of Ashes: Chapter 5
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
...was younger, he dreamed of being a novelist. His ambitions centered around a fantastic fountain pen he saw in a shop. Daniel is convinced that this pen is capable of creating... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
If the fountain pen is longer there, Mr. Sempere says, they’ll have the watchmaker, Don Federico, make a copy.... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Daniel returns to see the pen every weekend, reporting on its status to his father. He tells Mr. Sempere he wants... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
In the meantime, Daniel starts writing stories with an ordinary pen. He writes about a strange pen, possessed by the soul of a dead author, which... (full context)
An Empty Plate: Chapter 10
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...exactly where he’s been all night, but his father seems resigned and urges him to open his birthday present. He has bought Daniel the fountain pen that he craved so much... (full context)
City of Shadows: Chapter 42
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...the city streets. Then he returns to his room and takes out his old fountain pen, hoping it will guide him, but “the pen had nothing to say.” Daniel feels like... (full context)
Nuria Monfort: Chapter 1
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Coincidence and Determinism Theme Icon
Carax covets a fountain pen he sees in a pawnshop, which is said to have belonged to Victor Hugo. Nuria... (full context)
Nuria Monfort: Chapter 11
Reality and the Written Word Theme Icon
Coincidence and Determinism Theme Icon
...she returns home, she finds he’s already been there, left her the Victor Hugo fountain pen, and burned all her copies of his novels. (full context)
Postmortem
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...Clara, Tomás, Bernarda, and their neighbors arrive soon after. Mr. Sempere has brought Daniel’s fountain pen to the hospital in case he wants to write, and Fermín has discovered that he... (full context)
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Fathers, Sons, and Masculinity Theme Icon
...found out that Penélope is his half sister. Daniel tells Carax to take the fountain pen and start writing again. Later Daniel wakes up again, and Bea says that she’s been... (full context)
Dramatis Personae
Duality and Repetition Theme Icon
Possessive and Obsessive Love Theme Icon
...Mist, by an author called Boris Laurent. He finds an inscription written in the fountain pen’s familiar ink, to him and to Beatriz, “who gave us both back our lives.” (full context)