The Boy, Aunt Mathilda, and The Dog:
Love and Neglect in Donoso's "Paseo"
In Donoso's essay "Paseo," the nameless boy talks about his life of neglect and longing. The boy lives with his Aunt Mathilda and her brothers, but receives no love and almost no attention from them. He desires and hopes for the elders to show emotion of any kind for him, but to no avail. Aunt Mathilda lives a life that involves only herself and her brothers, while the boy is nothing but "a person peripheral to her life, never central" (70). Everyday involves a strict routine set by the Aunt. Everyone follows the daily rituals until one day a dog follows Aunt Mathilda and the boy home, altering everything. In the essay, the nameless boy describes his life, his family, his environment, and the small white dog that changes everything.
The boy's mother died when he was four years old.
Aunt Mathilda and her two brothers came to live with the boy and the father to help raise the boy. They lived in a narrow little house "which, like a book, showed only its narrow spine to the street" (69). Aunt Mathilda set a routine that the entire family followed-- she kept the house meticulously clean, made sure that all inhabitants were comfortable, and made the beds ready for the brothers every night. She took good care of her brothers, but neglected the boy. Every night the boy would go to bed hoping to find that his Aunt had turned down the sheets for him as she did his uncles.
But Aunt Mathilda never opened my bed. Each night, when I went up to my room, my heart thumped in the hope of finding my bed opened with the recognizable dexterity of her hands. But I had...