When life has something else stored for you, why do we wrestle the present and strive for its betterment? If dreams are not meant to be fulfilled, then why do we keep on creating new ones? They say, rough seas make skilled sailors. What if one succumbs to the callousness of the blue depth? Is he not man enough? A new land, a new vision, we pursue valiantly, only if we knew what the future stored in for us? Except then life would not be such a dream.
Ramuntcho, the bastard child of Franchita was a fine pelota player by day and an astute smuggler (contraband runners) by night. A simple mountaineer, Ramuntcho loved his Basque terrain, where a threatening autumn lashed a caution of a bitter winter soothing the flora to resist its callousness lured by the charm of a vibrant, affectionate spring. His only bashful love, Gracieuse, for who he would ardently wait for an exclusive dance immersing in all its sovereignty at the All-Saints’ day festivities. Ramuntcho was an average individual with unusual pain.
When Loti sketched Ramuntcho a teenager from the humble abode of Basque community, he reflected on the gravity of emotional upheaval an individual carries when encumbered by sin and ignominy. The cost of freedom, living without any remorse coming through the annihilation of painful memories, does it really brings tranquility within the abyss of disdain. When dreams die young and happiness is no longer a friend; sadness embraces you with a corpse-like aura numbing every inhibition you have ever conceived. Franchita’s death brought an unusual serenity in Ramuntcho’s life but his destiny was fixed forever. Now, he was the bastard son of Franchita whose dreams were viciously uprooted from his beloved Basque soil and would eventually fade away in a new land called ‘America’.
This is certainly not Loti’s finest when considering his other works like Madame Chrysantheme Complete (my favourite amongst all) and The Story of a Child. If one chooses to read Ramuntcho, it is unfruitful to go overboard with the plot revolving one man’s endurance of disenchantment and heartbreak. Pierre Loti’s excellence shines through the portrayal of solely Ramuntcho- the protagonist and the poetic serenading of the illustrious Basque landscapes the narration serpentines through various seasons .The visualization of the main character and his progression from a childlike ignorance to a deadened, poignant fugitive seeking an refuge in a strange new world unaware of the hard labors of destiny awaiting his arrival,tells a metaphorical tale of million immigrants who leave their adored homeland due to wide-ranging unfavorable circumstances and while reconstructing a prolific hope carry a proverbial void in their hearts which may never be filled.