Atal’s summary, or Love of two savages in the desert

Atal’s summary, or Love of two savages in the desert

FR de Chateaubriand
Atala, or Love of two savages in the desert
Atala is considered the daughter of the leader of the muskogul tribe, but her real father is Christian Spaniard Philippe Lopez. Christian was also the mother of Atala, baptized her daughter and raised her in the Christian faith. At the birth of A. her mother gave a vow that the girl will remain chaste and devote her whole life to the Queen of Heaven. Before the death of her mother, A. at her request swore to her that she would not break the vow. Meanwhile A. met Shaktas and fell in love with him so much that, in order to avoid the temptation and not become an oath-breaker, she takes poison. As it turns out after the meeting of lovers with the virtuous priest Father Aubry, the Christian religion does not require vain sacrifice: the girl could be freed from the vow, only if the bishop asked for permission. However, A. showed self-will and deprived herself and Shaktas of the opportunity to enjoy the happiness of marriage. While depicting A.’s clothes, her habits and the system of speech, Chateaubriand gives a generous tribute to North American exotics and “local color,” but the psychology of A. gives out in her a being that is not alien to European civilization; the author gives her the melancholic sensitivity characteristic of the heroines of the sentimental novels of the last third of the 18th century.


Atal’s summary, or Love of two savages in the desert