‘Olalla’ reminds me on the moments when I enjoy reading books about Gothic literature, the sort of mysterious tale that keeps me going until the last page of the story. Reading ‘Olalla’ brings so much fun in a way it successfully makes me curious about Felipe, Olalla and their mother. And oh the language by Robert Louis Stevenson in this short story is really, really damn good.
The challenge in reading this type of story is that there are a few or even a lot of clues that are hidden behind self-narration and dreams. In this short story, the narrator’s dream about Olalla gives very important foreshadowing on what is going on with her. Though different forms, the narrator’s dream later becomes true; that he has to go despite the fact they love each other.
Another hard task grasping the essence of the story is visualizing the gestures and appearances of the characters, especially the senora and Felipe. Although the senora is beautiful and elegant, I can tell by the narrator’s depictions that she has the royal blood. I just know it.
The strangest trait in the story I think is Felipe. In spite of his niceties, he is a weirdo as shown when he plays with a maggot. He enjoys torturing the animal. He acts like a child sometimes. This is so ironical knowing that he is the descendant of the royal family. So odd.
While those make the short story very rich and requires me to fully concentrate in digesting it, I hate to say this but I am a bit disappointed. Some key questions remain unresolved. I feel some things are left out.
For instance, what makes the senora act like a beast? How does the former influential family go from riches to rags, figuratively? Is there a thing called supra natural powers here? What is the connection between losing respect from the society and becoming cruel person, like the senora? And then.. Is there a sort of curse that haunts the family for generations that make Olalla has no choice other than staying in the residencia then die?
There are missing links between losing power and opting becoming like a monster. Or I don’t know. May be I don’t understand the story well. All I know is that the narrator gets the whole story from the villager, which I feel it insufficient still. If not something is missing, I guess something is excluded. I feel the story is a little bit incomplete.
Just my humble thoughts though.
Thank you for providing the picture.