What exactly is the book saying about the tension between reality and imagination?

Pedro Camacho’s character development is used to represent the tension between reality and imagination in the book. At the beginning of the book, Pedro Camacho is presented as a character resting in his imagination but forced to live through reality which then develops into a character at the end forced into reality, completely stripped of his imagination. In a way, Mario the Author uses Pedro Camacho to show his own development as a person throughout the book. In the beginning, Mario is rather unrealistic, juggling his relationship with his Aunt, his job and his university seeing an imaginative future where that all occurred simultaneously. We see Mario move from an immature 18-year-old who is in love with literature and pursuing a perhaps idealistic life, and as the book progresses, namely toward the end, we see a realistic Mario, married to a woman his age with a different career. In some ways, this is a less exaggerated mimic of Pedro’s character development as a contrast to Mario’s character. Llosa (the author) uses Pedro to portray Mario’s inner imagination and feelings with the sentiment of being trapped and lost in reality whereas Mario represents the ‘reality’ of what happened, a typical ‘boy growing into a man’ scenario.

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