Plot Summary of The Tree by Maria Luisa Bombal

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 521 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jun 17, 2020

Words: 521|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 17, 2020

"The tree" tells the story of two women of different social backgrounds: Marta, economically well positioned and Luisa, an Indian. Luisa, a woman of lower class, arrives at Marta's house, fleeing from a violent husband, from whom, despite the mistreatment, she cannot break free. Marta welcomes her reluctantly and takes care of her with arrogance and contempt. The way that the author describes the thoughts of Marta about the indigenous woman shows the discrimination towards her and how she despises her.

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In a passage of the story, Marta even dehumanizes Luisa, when she thinks to herself “Can she possibly be human?” and when she affirms that “the Indians were more akin to beasts than to man. ” Marta is complicit with the patriarchal system by the way she treats Luisa. She does not see the indigenous women as her equal. Throughout the story, Marta holds the power and use it against Luisa. She verbally abuses the indigenous woman and is also willing to use violence to manifest her power over her. Moreover, Marta is always questioning Luisa and her stories until Luisa uses fear against Marta. Marta does not want to believe that the person she has welcomed into her home, providing her with food and shelter, will be able to harm her and thus is torn between the fear that she is feeling and the security that her social class provides. Marta welcomes Luisa reluctantly and takes care of her with arrogance and contempt. Luisa tells her little by little the period of her life in prison to vent her guilt and provokes a reaction of fear in Marta. That period was, according to her own testimony, the happiest of her life, because she felt safe there, had enough food and enjoyed the cultural activities that were held to entertain the inmates. That is why she carries in her purse the knife with which she stabbed her first victim and that she considers to be the key that will take her back to the only place where she felt integrated and for which she is willing to renounce her freedom. At the end of the story, the victim, Luisa, becomes the victimizer.

Throughout the writing, it is clear to the readers how Luisa is verbally abused and rejected by Marta. Therefore, Luisa’s actions in the end can be explained by how she was treated and marginalized her whole life. After Luisa could no longer bear the burden of her sins, she went to relieve herself for four hours to a tree, which later dried up; that is exactly what happened with Marta, who after having told her everything during the same period of time killed her, because what the Indian woman was looking for was to be locked up again, because she was happy in prison – where she had access to water, food, work, friends and healthcare. All Luisa wanted was to have a decent life – which she only experienced while she was in prison – and, in this case, her last action would break her free from her marginalized life outside of jail, even if it cost Marta’s life.

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Plot Summary Of The Tree By Maria Luisa Bombal. (2020, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
“Plot Summary Of The Tree By Maria Luisa Bombal.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2020,
Plot Summary Of The Tree By Maria Luisa Bombal. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 12 Jun. 2024].
Plot Summary Of The Tree By Maria Luisa Bombal [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jun 12]. Available from:
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