Dead Stars Summary

 Dead Stars Summary by Paz Marquez Benitez

 Dead Stars Summary : Dead Stars is a short story of an over thirty years old bachelor, Alfredo Salazar who was about to get married to his fiancée, Esperanza. His love and passion for his fiancé started getting fade as he was attracted to another woman named Julia Salas. As Alfredo knew that his family will disapprove his desire of having another woman, he unwantedly married with Esperanza and started his own family. Later, after eight years, Alfredo went on a business trip to Julia’s place. In his visit to Julia, to his surprise, he recognized that he no more feel attracted to her anymore. He compared his love for her as dead stars, his memory of a long way to get a girl he thought he loved.

Dead Stars Summary

Alfredo Salazar – a man of love

The short story revolves around one man, Alfredo Salazar and the affairs of his heart. He is a man who believes in true love and hopes to find bliss in its wake. The first woman he falls in love with is Esperanza.

Their families are acquainted with each other and they thus they begin a passionate relationship. But soon it fades away when Alfredo comes across another woman, Julia, who becomes the object of his desire.

Esperanza and Alfredo have their engagement after three years of romance. Alfredo, a lawyer is a man who wants warmth and compassion but Esperanza is a strong-willed, impassionate and woman of principles.

His Love for Julia Salas

So when he comes across Julia Salas, sister-in-law of the Judge who is a friend of Alfredo’s father. He is strongly attracted to her. Julia is an enthusiastic and optimistic person. A woman of hope, dreams and desires.

On his visit with his father, he starts engaging in profound chats with Julia and starts getting attracted to her charm, wit and passion.  In his impassioned state, he does not even disclose the truth about his engagement to Esperanza.

In order to avoid the scrutiny of his fiancée, he starts keeping secrets from Esperanza too. One day he learns about Julia’s return to her hometown. His eyes are doomed with the fear of losing her and he decides to confess his guilt and true feelings to Julia.

His Lies are exposed

After the Church’s function, he goes to meet her even though his fiancée is waiting for him to come to her. However, reaching to Julia, he realizes that she has already learned about his lies. She even wishes him best on his marriage to Esperanza and leaves him.

He gets a double blow when he returns home to Esperanza. She is talking to a friend about loyalty and faithfulness. Alfredo feels an urge to speak. He defends the cause of desire and choice over immorality.

This gets under the skin of Esperanza who declares that she knew about him and Julia. She encourages him to commit such immoral infidelity and cancel the wedding, all in pursuit of his heart’s content and lust. However, Alfredo surrenders to reason and sanity and the wedding goes ahead as planned.

He Meets Julia Again

As fate would have it, he is sent on some work duty to a place near Julia’s hometown. He cannot help resist the feeling of nostalgia and old lust for Julia. He finds an excuse and way to her place where he met her.

She is still single and he is forced to dream about a life with her instead of Esperanza. But soon he comes to know that something is not the same after all. Julia has changed and rather lost something now.

Maybe it is her beauty, wit, charm or even her passion, but she is a different woman. She is cold and aloof and does not extend the same warmth and affection to him anymore.

He is heartbroken and pensive and questions whether he ever loved her truly. Was it all a futile infatuation or mere affair? Was the romance they shared, just a figment of his imagination? Whatever it was, he is no more alive. He accepts the hard reality that anything that there may have been was there no more.



Dead Stars expresses the subject of forbidden love. Forbidden love is only apparent and curses and disturbs the person until a person realizes his or her faults.


Responsibility is another underlying theme of the story. Alfred is engaged to his beloved to get married, yet, he distracts himself with another woman Julia. He forgets his responsibility towards his to-be wife, even after eight years he still thinks of Julia until he realizes that Julia has changed herself.



He is the son of Don Julian. He is over thirty years old bachelor. Alfred Salazar believes in true love and optimism to discover ecstasy in its stir. Esperanza is the first woman he falls in love with. After their engagement, he falls in love with Julia Salas.


She is the wife of Alfredo Salazar. Esperanza is an impassionate woman having strong will and principles. A homely woman, she is also among the lucky women who have the aptitude of consistent beauty.


She is the sister in law of Judge Dal Valle, a friend of Alfredo’s father. She is the second woman with whom Alfredo falls in love with. She remains single for her entire life.


He is the father of Alfredo Salazar.


She is the only sister of Alfredo Salas.


He is Julia’s brother in law.


She is Julia’s sister. A pretty, small, plump woman with baby complexion.


He is a note-carrier of Esperanza and Alfredo Salazar.


Donna’s husband.


Carmen’s husband.


The elusive woman whom Alfredo is searching for.


Dead Stars is a narrative short story by Par Marquez Benitez. The story is written in the third person point of view using the pronouns he, she, it, they, etc.

The short story Dead Stars, written in 1925 has a significant place in Philippine English Literature as it gives birth to modern English writing in Philippine. At that time, English was newly introduced and the writers were struggling hard while using English as a medium of expression.

Dead Stars is the masterpiece of Paz Marque Benitez. In this short story, he didn’t only talk about love. His writing is significant as it reflects the spirit of the time. It depicts the language, norms and the manners of the people during that time. The readers are enabled to understand how marriage, fidelity, and courtship were viewed during the early twentieth century. This serves as a mode to compare the past and the present, and the fading traditional culture and the predominating modern culture.

The short story also illustrates the rising conjunction of sociopolitical feminism. In this story, women are represented as meek and dependent on men. Men are considered to be superior to women. Women are faithful who easily falls in love while the male is shown as uncertain, inconsistent and rational. However, the story also ruined the concept of patriarchal society as it sees the man rational and logical while woman as emotional and kind.


The setting of the short story Dead star are various:

Calle Real,

House of Judge Del Valle,

Sta. Cruz,

House of Don Julian in Tanda,

House of Don Julian,


Dead Stars symbolizes the unspoken present things. The affection and love between Alfredo and Julia seemed to be existing and real, however, with the passage of time, it fades away like a dead star. Hence, the disillusionment and memories of the past do not exist anymore. After the eight years of reunion, the fading love was not because of the fading youth, but because Alfred finds her different from what he perceived in the past and all the gone years. He is disillusioned. The illusions that he concealed all the years turns out to be nothing but dead stars; it was dead long ago, yet it emits apparently real lights to travel the long distance.

The devotion of Esperanza for Alfred also symbolizes love, however, she believes more in the reformative virtue than true love, that why we can say that she is in a relationship because of moral obligation.

 Read it also:  The Cherry Orchard Summary

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