Dead Stars

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Dead Stars is a story by Paz Marquez Benitez. Published in 1925, it is considered the first modern Philippine short story in English. Its focus on internal rather than external conflict and its resolution with an epiphany (as popularized by James Joyce) are among the characteristics that distinguish it as modern literature.


The story revolves around Alfredo Salazar, a bachelor over thirty, and two women: Esperanza, his fiancée of four years, and a young girl from out-of-town named Julia Salas. Everyone takes it for granted that Alfredo will eventually marry Esperanza. But although he is ashamed to admit it, the intensity of his passion for Esperanza has faded and he is attracted to Julia, whom he meets at a dinner party. But he is aware that all his loved ones—including Julia—would disapprove of his failure to honor his understanding with Esperanza. So he and Esperanza get married and have a family. Then, eight years later, he goes on a business trip to the town where Julia, still unmarried, lives. He goes to visit Julia, whom he has never forgotten. But he is surprised to find that he no longer feels attracted to her. He compares the memory of his love for her to dead stars, whose glow is still visible from the earth for years after they are gone.

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Dead Stars