We read this short story in my Spanish class and there's something I'm missing. I know the daughter and her father are poor and live on a farm in Galicia, I know Ildara got red tights, and that her father got angry and beat her so badly for it that she lost a tooth and all the sight in one eye. That meant she couldn't go to America, because she was no longer beautiful and healthy.

Who gave her the tights, or how did she get them? I didn't understand that part but my teacher says that was important. Please help!

2 Answers



Red Stockings

This paraphrase of the story doesn't say, but it appears she did not buy the tights, which you say at the beginning of your question.

Sounds like a pretty brutal story!

OK, I read some of the story. Here is where she explains where she got the stockings

--¡No nacen!...Vendí al abade unos huevos, que no dirá menos él...Y con eso merqué las medias.

So, she sold some eggs to the abbot - "he will confirm it" - and with that money she bought the stockings.

I don't understand the significance of this, but perhaps you will.

  • It is very sad. I thought she bought the tights when I read it, I'll edit that. Thanks! :) - bailarina95 Oct 27, 2011
  • See my edit above... Out of curiosity I read part of the story. - Jeremias Oct 27, 2011


No, she lied. She was being conned by a crook, who was paying her money for this trip, but really wanted to bait her into using her good looks for bad purposes: "Ella iría sin falta, ya estaba de acuerdo con el gancho, que le adelantaba los pesos para el viaje, y hasta le había dado cinco de señal de los cuales habían salido las famosas medias..." "She would go no matter what, she had already come to an agreement with the con man, who was forwarding her the money for the trip, even giving her five pesos in advance, from which she bought the famous stockings..." In this case, "gancho" means a crook, who was leading her into a false hope that she would be in a land of plenty, but the implication by Bazan is that she will be forced into some kind of sexual slavery. He even gave her money for the stockings to sweeten the bait. Bazan's point is that her feminine beauty was like a trap. Being exploited by crooked men. She had no hope, as her poverty suggests. Her scarred face will make her useless to the gancho and his wicked purposes. The cruel irony was that her father's beating saved her from a fate even worse than blindness in one eye. This story is very carefully structured. We have the social class aspect of Ildara, her father, the landlord, and the abbot. We have the male/female roles. Her father is so used to his poverty, handed down for generations, that he doesn't even think of something better. Ildara has even less hope for a way out of her poverty and social situation. We tend to read the red stockings as a sign of hope because as Americans we are conditioned to think that you can always rise out of your situation. But you have to read it from a poor woman's perspective in 1800's Spain. There is no hope for you, and the only hope is a false one.

  • Also, her father's anger comes out of a feeling of helplessness. They are both trapped and helpless in their own way. - jimmythejet Nov 29, 2012