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In the novel The Moon Will Forever be a Distant Love By Luise Humberto Crosthwaite we see a transition in the roles, characterization and way of life of the two main characters Conquistador Balboa and his lovely wife Florinda. Through out the story we see these two important characters change completely from what they once were into almost the exact opposite of their entire personality
When the book starts off Balboa is a strong man, a conquistador, a provider for his loved one and he considers it a point of pride, when he gets laid off, he sees the option to go to "New Spain" and continue to be a proud conqueror and be able to provide for his wife Florinda. His main goal was to seek out a life of happiness with Florinda as shown by Crosthwaite in his novel The Moon Will Forever be a Distant Love "Seeking happiness: that's what its all about" (Crosthwaite 19) He seems to be one of those strong jawed individuals that you could really put your back against and expect him not to move.
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Florinda seems like the stereotypical fantasy world girl, she sees (I believe so) Balboa as her Knight in shining armor, and that as long as she is with him that everything will be ok. "Conquistador Balboa: are there not traces of magic in his name? Does it not shine; does his image not gleam in one's head like damp earth?" (Crosthwaite 25) She seems flighty and a little out there in terms of how she perceives reality. Not to suggest that she is dumb, rather that she seems narrow-minded in her quest for the man of her dreams to sweep her of her feet
At the point where Balboa gets fired, he and Florinda decide to go off to New Spain to make their lives. They take a bus too the new land and upon arrival they go to Balboa's Aunt and Uncle's house. Upon their arrival, and after the formalities are gone through, Balboa's aunt, Onelia, cautiously takes Florinda under her wing. In the mean time Balboa's uncle, Decoroso, takes Balboa to a strip joint. While Florinda is learning how to make fabada, one of the first key points of the story happens. While at the strip club, Balboa's resilience for Florinda is tested, and the first pangs of longing for her hit him. The urges to be out on his own, being a conquistador, while his faithful wife is at home are shaken by this incident.
The first incident of Florinda's change comes shortly after Balboa sends her a letter, a letter she feels is lacking in the department of affection. She starts taking lessons from Balboa's aunt. She learns all sorts of habits and chores to do around the house. And soon after that, she goes and gets a job at a local factory. This is the big moment, the moment where Crosthwaite shows Florinda losing a bit of that innocence in her. The part of her letting her knight in shining armor take care of her for the rest of her life. "Soldering iron melt solder, solder solder circuts. Again. Thirty per minute, maybe more"(Crosthwaite 60).
Another thing that I believe symbolizes the beginning of her separation to Balboa is "La Telly". True its not an animate object, but at the same time she feels a love for it, a security from it. A security that she's currently not getting from Balboa who is off in the world trying to make a living for them. She uses it to comfort her and to bring herself peace.
As time goes on, Florinda grows more and more independent and stronger willed. She makes "friends" with some of the girls at the factory where she works "Naturally it was Barbie Doll Tough luck Big City Girl" (Crosthwaite 64), La China, Sufferella, Big City Girl (Who only talks to her because the other girls do) and Barbie Doll. This signifies a large separation from Balboa. In other words, she's growing more independent from him, gaining the friendship of others instead of just relying blindly on him. Rather she's out there doing her own thing and enjoying life (or at least trying too).
When Balboa finally is able to return to New Spain, he seems changed to Florinda. He gets angry with her for reasons that never really annoyed him before "Balboa starts to get angry about insignificannot
things that never used to bother him before" (Crosthwaite 74). I believe this is so because, at first, when he was an independent "go out and do things" kind of man, he probably didn't notice it because he wasn't with her as much and it didn't bother him. And although now that he's with her even less, it probably becomes more noticeable to him because he realizes how little time he has with her each time he visits and it starts to bug him.
Just as Florinda has her major turning points, Balboa too, has his. The major turning point for Balboa is the next time he crosses over the boarder. He starts to have second thoughts about Florinda, not because he was losing his feelings for her, but because he's afraid to lose her to another man. He's worried that she will fall for another man while he's gone because she's not catholic. "If only she were a little more Catholic, she wouldn't have so many doubts about blindly believing in the tangible." (Crosthwaite 95). As Balboa spends more and more time in the Northernish Empire, I believe he begins to miss Florinda more and more. So much more does he miss her, that like some men, he starts to look for a replacement to placate his longing for the one he truly cares about. He starts to stare at Mary Ann when at work "When his hands in the soapy water look at the legs of the fair haired Mary Ann". (Crosthwaite 99) He apparently becomes so obsessed with filling the void that he no longer has with Florinda that it is implied that he has a relationship and possibly even living and sleeping with Mary Ann. "They pay for their merchandise and go home But am I in love with her? He wonders" (Crosthwaite 122)
However, Balboa is not the only one to have a secondary relationship. Florinda notices when she is at work, a man keeps staring at her. "He keeps looking looking at me. He watches me." (Crosthwaite 138). Apparently, (though its rather hazy around this point how far her relationship goes with him, she) she goes dancing with him and wonders if he is going to take over as her Balboa. At this point she's obviously confused about everything that's going on in her life, and she realizes how independent she's grown. "So what now? Do we make eyes at each other do we get lovey-dovey?" (Crosthwaite 141) "All over again, then? All over again? All over again." (Crosthwaite 142)
The final blow to this whole story, the cou de grace, the moment when everything boils down and Florinda and Balboa realize how very far they've grown apart from each other, much to Balboa's dismay and Florinda's apathetic view towards the whole relationship that she had with Balboa. (Florinda seems to care, but she's already gotten to the point that she cannot turn back and has to move on) happens when Balboa comes to her apartment and she flat turns him down "Not anymore. Not anymore, says Florinda. She closes the door, takes a few steps and turns on the television." At this very point, Balboa realizes that he lost the one thing he cared about the most. His be out on my own view and way of life came full swing to where all he wanted was to be with Florinda. And Florinda, who wanted nothing more then to be with Balboa, who ran away from her family and home in southern Mexico to be with him, realizes that she must move on from him. At this point, they have completely and utterly changed the way they view life.