Dead Stars Summary, Themes, & Critical Analysis: Paz Marquez Benitez

Read our complete notes on the short story “Dead Stars” by Paz Marquez Benitez. Our notes cover Dead Stars summary, themes, and critical analysis.

Dead Stars Introduction:

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:

The story of the short story Dead Stars revolves around a man, Alfred Salazar, and his affairs. Alfred Salazar believes in true love and optimism to discover ecstasy in its stir. Esperanza is the first woman he falls in love with.

The families of both of them are acquainted with each other and hence they start a loving relationship. Both get engaged after three years of their relationship. Alfredo is a lawyer who has strong desires and wants warmth and compassion, however, Esperanza is an impassionate woman having strong will and principles. Alfredo’s love for her soon fades away when he meets Julia. Julia, now, becomes a new object of his desire.

Julia Salas is sister in law of the Judge, who is a friend of Alfredo’s father. Julia is an optimistic and enthusiastic person having her own dreams and desires.

When Alfredo comes across her, he is strongly attracted to her. On his visit to her with his father, he engages himself in conversation with her and is attracted to her charm. Even he is so passionate that he doesn’t disclose his engagement to Esperanza.

So as to avoid the discovery of his fiancée, he keeps secrets from Esperanza too. His eyes are doomed when he learns about Julia’s return to his native town. With the fear of losing her, Alfredo decides to declare his true feeling for Julia.

When the Church’s function ends, Alfredo goes to meet her, though his fiancé is waiting for him. When he reaches there, he learns that Julia has already known about his engagement to Esperanza. She wishes him for his marriage and leaves him.

On his return home, he gets a double blow. He finds Esperanza talking to her friend about loyalty and faithfulness. Alfredo senses a desire to communicate. He supports the reason for craving and choice over dishonesty.

Esperanza soon confesses that she knew about his affair with Julia. In pursuit of his lust and heart’s content, she encourages him to cancel the wedding. However, the wedding goes ahead as scheduled and Alfred surrenders to reason.

Near Julia’s native town, Alfred, after eight years, is sent to some work duty. On his visit, he feels nostalgic and cannot resist his lust for Julia and soon finds an excuse to meet her.

Julia is still single that forces Alfred to dream about starting a new life with her; however, he soon realizes that everything is not the same as it were before. Moreover, Julia has also changed lost something.

Dead Stars Themes:

Following are themes of the short story Dead Stars:

Forbidden Love:

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.

Dead Stars Characters Analysis:

Following are the characters of the Short story Dead Stars:

Alfredo Salazar:

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.

Julia Salas:

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.

Don Julian:

He is the father of Alfredo Salazar.


She is the only sister of Alfredo Salas.

Judge Del Valle:

He is Julia’s brother in law.

Donna Adella:

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.

Brigida Samuy:

The elusive woman whom Alfredo is searching for.

Dead Stars Critical Analysis:

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.