Follow TV Tropes


Literature / This Sunday

Go To

This Sunday (Spanish name: Este Domingo) is a short novel of Jose Donoso written on 1966.

The unnamed protagonist recalls his childhood days with his cousins in his grandparent’s Big Fancy House. Then, said grandparents take a more dominant role in the story, as certain aspects of the life of Alvaro and Chepa are revealed. Both Alvaro and Chepa have a failed marriage and immerse themselves in selfish existences, isolated from each other, each of them solely concerned with their own interests.

Deadpan Snarker Alvaro is a Neat Freak old laywer who finds out that he has cancer. So he starts reminiscing about his teenage years about the Unresolved Sexual Tension with his maid Violeta. Meanwhile, charitable Cool Old Lady Chepa goes to a visit to the penitentiary, where she meets Maya, an unstable young murderer whom she starts having dark and hidden feelings for.

This Sunday has the following tropes.

  • Affably Evil: Maya.
  • Am I Just a Toy to You?: Played with. Young Violeta sees herself as nothing but a sex toy and tool to her master Alvaro, because she is a maid and he is a middle-class boy and knows that nothing good would happen if they end up together in something more rather than Friends with Benefits. Also, Young Alvaro acknowledges this and repeateldy says to her that she is nothing but a maid and he is only in it for the sex. They still care greatly about each other even after they are old, though.
  • Amicable Exes: Old Alvaro and Violeta.
  • Anachronic Order: The story it's first told by the young Protagonist's point of view. Later it's Old Alvaro's, then his younger counterpart, then Chepa's, then the Protagonist's again, Chepa again and finally the adult Protagonist.
  • Asshole Victim: Old Alvaro. Also Maya, to some degree.
  • Bastard Bastard: Mirella, Violeta’s daughter. It’s heavily implied that she might be Alvaro’s illegitimate daughter, it’s never stated clear. She’s a nasty jerk just like him, though.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Marta, one of the Protagonist's cousins, is seen as this.
  • Big Fancy House: The Vives family lives in one of these.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Mirella.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Alvaro and Violeta, particularly in their teenage years.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Two of the Protagonist's cousins, Alberto and Magdalena, see their parents doing...things at night and proceed to try it too. They fail, because of their young age they are unable to unsderstand what to do and they were laughing the whole time.
  • Book Ends: The novel starts with the kid Protagonist and his father driving around his grandparents’ house. It ends with the adult Protagonist driving around the house, now abandoned and ruined.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: In Their First Time, Young Violeta accidentally catches Alvaro jacking off in the bathtub.
  • Cheerful Child: The Protagonist and his cousins.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Poor Violeta. Maya in a rage fit chokes, beats her to the point of unconsciousness and later hangs her to death.
  • Cool Old Lady: Chepa, according to her grandchildren.
  • Downer Ending: Thanks to Alvaro’s lie to Maya, he enters into an uncontrollable fit and brutally kills Violeta in order to be sent to prison again. Chepa ends up traumatized and dies shortly after. Alvaro soon succumbs to his illness, the family members don’t stick around together anymore and the Protagonist can’t see his beloved cousins as much as before. Time passes, people change... and life, as it always does, goes on.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alvaro. It’s taken up to eleven when he is old.
  • Dysfunctional Family: A mild example.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Poor Chepa, after Maya's cruel murder of Violeta. It's symbolical, because he saw the maid as a Replacement Goldfish regarding her and by killing Violeta, he has symbolically killed Chepa as well.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When Old Alvaro is introduced, he is having a talk with his grandsons, but he is not really paying attetion to them and he is actually checking his necktie in the mirror. And he also plays chess with himself.
    • The moment where the cousins are introduced, they are joking and laughing their asses off upon seeing Old Alvaro playing terribly the piano.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Maya, an unstable prisoner that has spent his childhood and teenage years in prison because he murdered someone at the age of nine.
  • Hesitant Sacrifice: Old Alvaro's reaction when he finds out he has cancer. When he dies, he is postrated in bed dying slowly and succumbing to his cancer. And he is whimpering all the time that he does not want to die in a Madness Mantra.
  • Hidden Depths: Chepa might look like a charitable Cool Old Lady, but she hides her failed marriage and sexual frustrations behind charitable concerns for others.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Chepa, regarding Maya. It comes back to bite her in the ass considering Maya's fate in the finale.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Alberto and Magdalena.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Yes, his name is really Maya.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Chepa does not take it well when she finds out that Maya had been doing the nasty with Violeta, because he sees her as a Replacement Goldfish.
    • Basically, Chepa has a psychological need to have someone need her more than anyone else.
  • It's All About Me: Alvaro, again.
  • It's All My Fault: Chepa blames herself for Maya's unstable behaviour. When she finds out that Maya went and killed Violeta, she snaps with guilt.
  • Innocence Lost: Chepa's concept about the people in poverty is ruined after she is horribly assaulted by a bunch of stray kids in a Nightmare Fuel scene.
    • In a smaller case, the Protagonist runs into his parents doing....things. He proceeds to tell this to his cousins, but they already knew about such things. They even lampshade this trope.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: One of Alvaro's issues. Basically, he feels inferior to the high-class girls he is attracted to and he had intercourse with Violeta in the first place because she is a low-class girl and a maid, so she is lower than him and Alvaro can be strong enough. In his First Time with Chepa, he was almost impotent, feeling himself to be inferior, but after fantazinig he was doing it with Violeta, he sees Chepa in bed as an equal and does it.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Dammit, Maya...
  • Free-Range Children: The Protagonist and his cousins.
  • Friends with Benefits: Young Alvaro and Violeta.
  • The '40s
  • Jerkass: Alvaro, oh so much. His own family doesn't like him, including his grandchildren, or his own wife. Even in the end, after he is revealed to be the cause of Violeta's gruesome death and Chepa's Despair Event Horizon, he only seems to care about his terminal illness. Not to mention his treating of Violeta (assuring that he is only with her for the sex and she is just a maid, not to mention his Inferiority Superiority Complex regarding her).
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: We find out later that she's the only one who he does give a damn about. Even Chepa admits that Alvaro genuinely smiles when Violeta is around.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The Nightmare Fuel scene where Chepa goes looking for Maya in a poor immigrant street and ends up humiliated and traumatized by a gang of stray children. The scene is rather nightmarish, because the cruelty of those strays contrasts with the low-class children at the charity.
  • Longing for Fictionland: The protagonist and his cousins.
  • Love Epiphany
  • Love Martyr: Chepa, towards Maya and Violeta, towards Alvaro.
  • Maid: Violeta, an old maid and Supreme Chef with an onesided love towards her master Alvaro.
  • Mirror Character:
    • Maya and Alvaro. Both are neat freaks with an Inferiority Superiority Complex and he is afraid of losing his identity to Chepa.
    • And Chepa and Violeta. Both are tidy and kind-hearted women who are apparently selfless but actually have some Hidden Depths about it. While Chepa might look like a kind charitable old lady, but she only does it out of sexual frustration and when she meets Maya, she discards the others immediately. And Old Violeta might look like a cheerful and mild cook, but she only does it because of Alvaro, and by extension, his family. Also, both are broken in the finale and they die horribly.
  • Mood Whiplash: This story has moments where it can be quite funny, to suddenly being a complete tearjerker. Not to mention the Downer Ending.
  • Motivational Lie: Young Violeta once cried, said she was in love with someone and hinted she might be pregnant. Noticing Alvaro's reaction, she tells her that she loves a boy from her hometown that vaguely resembles Alvaro and that she will be allright. Turns out that she genuinely loves her master and she was really pregnant with Bastard Bastard Mirella.
  • Neat Freak: Alvaro, even when he was young.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Yes, Alvaro. Go and tell the heavily unstable delinquent that his Morality Pet doesn’t care about him anymore. I’m sure nothing will turn out wrong.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: The protagonist hates his grandfather for being a self-centered jerkass and claims that he will never be like him. In the finale, when he grows up, he has the same doesn't-give-a-shit personality. He even lampshades it.
  • Parental Neglect: The Protagonist’s parents would regularly neglect him, letting him do whatever he wanted even though he was only six years old. The other cousins’ parents might be this as well; it's never exactly made clear. Also, Chepa prefers to do charity and spend time with poor people rather than her daughters when they were young, hence why they resent her.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Curiously, all the low-class people in the book don't want to change their lifestyle or to be helped by the high-class, because they feel that they do not fit into the high class world.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The reason of the Downer Ending.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Maya's goal at first is to replace Alvaro's role by assuming his social position and perceived relationship with Chepa.
    • After Chepa's Despair Event Horizon and subsequent death, the protagonist quickly replaces her with his newfound best friend's mom.
  • Satellite Character: Violeta. Her role is to give a backstory to Alvaro and have a Single-Target Sexuality towards him.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: One of the biggest issues in the book is Chepa’s inability to come to terms with her attraction to Maya, believing it to be charity.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: When the adult family members bring Chepa back home after her Heroic BSoD, the Protagonist’s cousins are noticeably absent.
  • Sleeps with Everyone but You
  • Supreme Chef: Violeta, again. With empanadas as her specialty.
  • Tempting Fate: At one point, Old Alvaro complains that Mirella and her husband Fausto mistreat Violeta horribly and they are only waiting for her to die and take her heritance. But there is no way it could happen, because Violeta is strong and she will outlive them, right? Guess who dies horribly in the finale.
  • Title Drop: The family trips to the grandparents's house is every Sunday. Also, Chepa and Maya's first meeting was on Sunday. Old Violeta brings empanadas to the Vives house on Sunday. And Young Alvaro and Violeta's First Time was on a Sunday.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Young Alvaro liked empanadas prepared by Maid and Supreme Chef Violeta.
    • Played with, as it is revealed later that he only liked the empanadas because their smell reminds him of Violeta's skin.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Maya, according to Chepa. To everyone else, not so much...
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: All of the kids have this to some degree. A particular moment is where Magdalena loses a bet and her cousins proclaim that her punishment is to be molested by the gardener.
    • Also Maya, who was imprisoned for murdering a man at the age of nine.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Poor Chepa and Violeta....
  • Undying Loyalty: Old Violeta, to Alvaro.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension
  • Unwanted Assistance: Maya's reaction to Chepa's insistent attitude towards her always checking him up and forcing him to be someone and change his low-class style of life.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Chepa, to Alvaro.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Alvaro's lie is what provokes the Downer Ending, Violeta's death and Chepa's Despair Event Horizon. Not that he cares.
  • World of Symbolism: The Protagonist and his cousins create an imaginary world in the basement where they create heavily Flanderizations of the world of the adults. And Mariola Roncafort, the God-Mode Sue of that world is loosely based on Chepa.
  • You Meddling Kids: The Protagonist and his cousins, though the latters take it up to eleven.