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Explore the relationship between Aurora and her grandmother Paulina del Valle in "Portrait of Sepia" by Isabel Allende

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Explore the relationship between Aurora and her grandmother Paulina del Valle in "Portrait of Sepia" by Isabel Allende In the novel, " Portrait in Sepia", Allende aims to describe the complicated relationships between people in the society. The main focus however is on the main character, Aurora and her aristocratic grandmother, Paulina. This relationship changes a lot, from being extremely distant and un-natural to a very close and warm grandmother and grandchild bond. When they first meet, Aurora's relationship with Paulina does not start off very well as there aren't any close, intact feelings between them which grandparents are supposed to have with their grandchildren. The appearance of Paulina affects their relationship already when Aurora first steps into her mansion on the hill. The Paulina she first sees appears to be noble and majestic. "Soon I was standing before a chair with gold medallions where Paulina del Valle was sitting, a queen on her throne." ...read more.


As time changes, Aurora softens her attitude towards Paulina and starts to rely on her. "At midnight I was wakened by the nigh-mare of the children in black pajamas, and without thinking twice I flew to the legendary bed of Paulina del Valle, the way I'd climbed every morning into my grandfather's bed to be pampered." This proves that Aurora started to get close with Paulina and that trust is building up in their relationship. However, Paulina rejected her request, "I didn't know that normal children never crossed the thresholds of their elders' rooms, much less climbed their beds." Nevertheless, Aurora is a small girl and it would be difficult for her to change her ways. "we{Aurora and her dog} must have been so pitiful that Paulina del Valle motioned for us to come." Therefore, it was obvious that it would be up to Paulina whether or not their relationship would get any further. ...read more.


Soon Paulina was getting so old that she was diagnosed to be dying shortly. " "Be prepared Aurora, the end could come within a few months," he {the doctor} told me. I couldn't help crying. Paulina del Valle represented the only roots I had: without her I would be cast adrift" The word "cast adrift" suggests that Aurora's life depends on Paulina and her death would cause her soul to leave her body. Therefore, she won't be able to carry on with her normal life once Paulina is dead. Also, this shows that Aurora has now grown into a mature character and that Paulina has shrivelled into an old woman who needs intensive care. Allende carefully weaves the lives of Aurora and Paulina together. However, although they experience different things in their lives, reference is made to both characters as they are equally important and occupy an equal share in the story. The story emphasises the changes in the different ways they (Paulina and Aurora) look at each other, from being a stranger to the incredible understanding they develop towards the end of the story. Hiu yee CHUNG 11D Word count : 861 ...read more.

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