Study Guide

The Hour of the Star Chapter 2

By Clarice Lispector

Chapter 2

  • Take a deep breath, Shmpoosters, because this is one big paragraph:
  • After wondering if his protagonist will marry or not, the narrator explains that he can't determine her fate. It's another little taste of existentialism: "To be frank, I am holding her destiny in my hands and yet I am powerless to invent with any freedom: I follow a secret, fatal line. I am forced to seek a truth that transcends me" (2.39).
  • In other words, Rodrigo S.M. is experiencing the angst that comes with the fact that there are consequences to his freedom.
  • Also, truth, for existentialists, is subjective, meaning each individual decides what is true for him or herself. Problem is, even this "truth" can change, so there's objective, universal, and permanent truth.
  • If you think it's hard now to decide what to have for lunch, imagine how much trouble you'd have if you believed there was no such thing as absolute truth.
  • Okay, so, if it's so hard, why does he want to write about this girl?
  • Apparently, he thinks that there's something sacred about her poverty and seclusion, and he wants a taste of this sanctity.
  • We have to wonder if she experiences her poverty in quite the same way.
  • He says that he writes because he's "desperate and weary" and he can "no longer bear the routine of [his] existence" (2.39).
  • This is kind of like when college freshman stay up all night saying things like, "You guys, you can never stop breathing. You have to breathe every single minute."
  • Anyway, it seems like poor-little-rich-boy Rodrigo S.M. suffers from his own kind of lack and emptiness.
  • If you have the sense that so far, nothing has actually happened in the book, you're right.