In La hoja roja (1959) Miguel Delibes has selected as his focus an aging man who might well represent the plight of the uncelebrated senior citizen of our times. What pervades the novel is Delibes' view of the process of aging as a search for calor, both in the literal meaning of physical warmth as well as a symbolic calor viewed in its human dimension as companionship, love, and understanding. These two levels of meaning suggest a third, the archetypal significance of the search for calor as it relates to the central event of the novel, the retirement of the protagonist. It is the purpose of this study to explore this archetypal dimension of the search for calor, emphasizing the significance of retirement as a reverse rite of passage leading to a regression in search of the lost warmth of childhood.



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