The Queer Use Of Women In Borg


The Queer Use of Communal Women in Borges'
Sex and women are two very problematic components in the fiction of Jorge Luis Borges: the absence of these two elements, which seems so casual and unremarkable, really highlights the strangeness of their exclusion. For example, scenes of sexual acts are almost totally lacking in Borgesian writing (Emma Zunz's sexual encounter with an anonymous sailor is the most notable exception) and even the most veiled suggestion of erotic activities is limited to only a very few stories. Similarly scarce,[1] too, are female characters who figure prominently in the narration and who seem to possess a independent personhood.[2] The fictional world created by ...

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to the interaction between men.
In opposition to the traditional critical standpoint that male-male interaction in Borgesian fiction is merely homosocial and, therefore, purely nonsexual, a closer inspection of Borges' work reveals the clear but playfully veiled presence of homoerotic desire. My purpose here is to analyze two stories, "El muerto" and "La intrusa," to expose the way in which the homosocial element of Borges' fictional world slides across the continuum[5] towards the homosexual side when men in each story make use of a communal woman for the purpose of connecting physically and emotionally with another man. In these two stories, the erotic desire of the two men is plainly not directed towards a female, but rather towards each other, with the female as the intermediary focal point at/in which the two men may coincide. This type of sexual activity has the dual objective of fulfilling the societal mandate of "compulsory heterosexuality" when the males use the ...

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to kill for their honor in stereotypical macho fashion. But aside from these parallels, the two stories have markedly different outcomes and purposes. In "El muerto," one man desires to coincide with another and through the use of a communal woman, the two men are connected in a way that creates a shift in authority, leading the second man to seek revenge on the first for his transgression of the male power dynamic. In "La intrusa," two brothers, through the use of a communal woman, suddenly come to understand how much they desire each other and once their passion is recognized, they preserve and reinforce it by disposing of the barrier between them, the woman who brought them ...

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Added: 9/15/2007 04:11:42 PM
Category: Miscellaneous
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