Her capitulation to Decoud is illustrated by the position of her fan and, again, a negative view of the Avellanos' house. The house hidden by dusk shows that Decoud is swaying her from her devotion to Don Jose.
Allegorically, the Avellanos house corresponds to Don Jose's ideal of the moral
nation, in similar manner to Viola's hotel standing for his ideal of the Libertarian
Republic. Decoud's insistence on the evils of patriotism is having an effect:
idealism (in the person of Antonia) is questioning its alliance with nationalism.
As we have seen, the two concepts are allied yet distinct and therefore separable,
and in fact over the course of the novel they will separate. With Don Jose's
death at the very moment of the material interests' triumph, Conrad illustrates
that the nation-state is no longer seen as a moral force in the modern world.
Idealism, meaning mankind's hope for betterment, will move on to international
concepts such as religion and social revolt, and Antonia will have new consorts
to reflect them. Here, the "degradation of dignity" applies not merely
to the physical house, but to the idea of the nation-state, once a powerful
source of human optimism, now a mere engine of oppression, disappearing into
the "gathering dusk" of history.