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Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

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Not only are the adults in Ofelia’s life trying to convince her to fit in more with the adult world, but they also represent the authoritarian government of Spain. Vidal, Carmen’s new husband, is a Falangist and is working to hunt down rebels from the war, those who are still fighting the Francoist regime. Thus, the contrast and tension between the fantastical world, which so fascinates the young Ofelia, and the real world, the world that her mother has entered into by marriage, is analogous to the tension between the rebels—those who dream of a better political future for Spain—and the Falangists—upholders of the authoritarian and fascist government. She smiled once again. There was sadness in her eyes. Ofelia saw it. Mercedes seemed to know about losing things too. She drew in her breath sharply and pressed her hand on her swollen belly. “Your brother is acting up again.”

Deeper and deeper into the forest the cars drove, with the girl and the mother and the unborn child. And the creature Ofelia had named a Fairy spread her insect wings, folded her six spindly legs, and followed the caravan.In the bathroom, Ofelia examines the book again, hoping for clues about her next task. The book fills with red the color of blood, and Ofelia closes it, frightened. When she goes into the next room, she finds her mother, bleeding profusely. Ferreira still looked at him with bewilderment. Did I ever meet a man like you? his eyes seemed to ask. “For the moment,” he replied, “there is no reason to be alarmed.”

Ofelia looked down. Her damp shoes were covered with mud, but she still felt the smile on her lips.

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At eight we detected movement in the northwest sector,” Garces reported as they crossed the yard. “Gunfire. Sergeant Bayona searched the area and captured the suspects.” Garces always talked as if he were dictating his words. Ofelia ran to her side and they walked through the arch, leaving the cold stones and the horned face with the empty eyes behind. His voice was as warm as the blankets on the bed and Ofelia wondered why her mother hadn’t fallen in love with a man like the doctor. He reminded her of her late father. Just a little bit.

Mercedes!” he called out to a woman who was helping the soldiers unload the cars. “Get their luggage!” They had been driving for hours, farther and farther away from everything Ofelia knew, deeper and deeper into this never-ending forest, to meet the man her mother had chosen to be Ofelia’s new father. Ofelia called him the Wolf, and she didn’t want to think about him. But even the trees seemed to whisper his name. Meanwhile, Ofelia comes upon the toad inside the tree, and introduces herself as Princess Moanna. The toad roars at her, but Ofelia remains calm. She feeds the magic stones to the toad all at once, pretending that they are the insects that it regularly eats. When the toad swallows the stones, its stomach appears to erupt from its belly, and Ofelia grabs the golden key that is sitting on top. She emerges from the tree, but is distressed to find that her beautiful dress is covered in mud, as the sky opens up in a rainstorm.

Your Horned Highness,” the sculptor said, “may I offer my humble skills one more time to find our lost princess?” She smiled at Ofelia. There were secrets in her smile, but Ofelia liked her. She liked her very much. Cintolo wasn’t sure, but no one dared to say no to the Faun, as he was known for his temper and his influence on the king. So Cintolo went to work. One year later, hundreds of stone columns grew out of the Upper Kingdom’s soil, wearing the sad faces of Moanna’s parents, carrying the Faun’s hope that the lost princess might one day walk past them and be reminded of who she was. But once again, many years passed and there was no news of Moanna. Hope died in the Underground Kingdom like a flower bereft of rain.

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