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WHIPS OF THEIR OWN: RACIAL AND SEXUAL ANXIETY AND VIOLENCE IN EMILY BRONT WUTHERING HEIGHTS THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS BY RENEE FOSS A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Miriam Wallace Sarasota, Florida May 2013
ii Dedication Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of all the Americas, Ruega por nosotros For I am truly your compassionate Mother: your Mother and the Mother to all who dwell in this land and to all other nations and peoples who love me and call and entreat me. I am the Mother of all who seek me and place their trust in me." D ecember 9 1531 "Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest and dearest son, that the thing that disturbs you, the thing that afflicts you, is nothing. Do not let your countenance, your heart be disturbed. [.. ] Am I not here, I, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow a nd protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need anything more? Let nothing else worry you, D ecember 12 1531 T otus Tuus
iii Acknowledgements Special thanks to my advisor, Dr. Miriam Wallace, for introducing me to Gothic literature, guiding me through this tedious thesis process, offering practical life advice, and being stern with me when necessary. Special thanks to Dr. Jos Alberto Portugal, without whom I would have been unable to complete my second chapter and finalize my library copy. I am very thankful for the hours he patiently spent with me, charmingly guiding me toward an innovative understan ding of the Gothic as a genre that emerges during times of social change. Indeed, though we live in Gothic times, he taught me not to fear the future for it is merely I would have been unable to complete this project without the support of my m other always quick to wipe away my tears and to suffer alongside with me. Thank you to my father for working so diligently and providing for me in so many ways. Thank you to my grandmother for always praying for me even during times of intense physical di fficulty. Nor would I have been able to complete this project without the support of my best friends Emily Libecki : your loyalty, compassion encouragement humility, and wit are unsurpassed. Thank you for being the authentic soul that you are. Christine Franc o e ur : thank you for your wit, for always making me laugh, and for bringing such unique joy to my life. You are such a blessing to me. Dustin Mantz : thank you for being my brother, for always encouraging me and praying for me, for being self less on my behalf, and for reminding me that I was made for greatness
iv Table of Contents Introduction 1 Chapter 1: Victorian Anxiety and Repression in Wuthering Height s 3 Chapter 2: Sins of the Past and the Return of the Repressed in The Book of Lamentations 27 Conclusion 55
v WHIPS OF THEIR OWN: RACIAL AND SEXUAL ANXIETY AND VIOLENCE IN EMILY BRONT WUTHERING HEIGHTS THE BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS Renee Foss New College of Florida, 2013 ABSTRACT This thesis explores two novels, Emily Bront Wuthering Heights (1847) and The Book of Lamentations (1962) These novels accord with the traditional Gothic literary canon (1764 1870) through their invocation of the past and preoccupation with These racial and sexual anxieties manifest most strongly through the violent power relations between members of key families of both novels I open Wuthering Heights by explaining how mu ltiple frame structure and unreliable narrator s inv ite the reader to approach the narrative with suspicion and unco ver the latent racial a nd sexual anxieties of the novel. Haunting also signifies repressed anxieties. introduction into the Earnshaw family and eventual usurpation of Wuthering Heights from the legitimate heir bring to the fore Victorian anxieties regarding the racial other. transgressive desire for power manifests through her claiming who carries out her revenge against her patriarchal oppressors; ghostly exile on the moors.
v i In m The Book of Lamentations I expand on the notion of haunting by introducing the notion of the transgenerational ghost whose endured traumas carry on into the lives of its ancestors The central trauma of the novel begins with the rape of an Indian woman Marcela, by a Castilian landowner and tyrant, Leonardo. This rape metaphor izes the Spanish conquest of land and native female bodies. The plethora of female characters in the novel inherit d in Mexican history, particularly Malinche and The Virgin of Guadalupe. These women attempt to purge themselves of the trauma through interpolation of the attitudes of the conquistadors, ntrol of the narrative through mythmaking. Dr. Miriam Wallace Division of Humanities
1 Introduction I began this project with a familiarity with select novels from the traditional Gothic literary canon (1764 The Castle of Otranto The Monk The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). These novels take place in medieval Catholic Europe and feature corrupt patriarchal figures, victimized females, and supernatural occurrences such as helmets fall ing from the sky, demons, and ghosts; the English Protestant authors of these 1 whereby they could express eighteenth century anxieties regarding legitimacy, rightful inheritance, and the ree mergence of what they perceived as a corrupt Catholic order, marked by superstition and transgression such as impiety, murder, and sexual excess (which is often inextricably linked with English racial anxiety of the Mediterranean other 2 ). The two novels I analyze in my thesis as Gothic Wuthering Heights The Book of Lamentations (1962), may superficially appear to be far removed from the tradition of the early Gothic. Wuthering Heights takes place in nineteen th century northern England, where the dominant religion is not Catholicism but Calvinism. Though the dominant religion of The Book of Lamentations is Catholicism, the novel takes place in twentieth century Mexico, and is thus generations and continents ap art from the early Gothic. Yet like the early Gothic, Wuthering Heights and The Book of Lamentations take place in the past and center upon key families and these dramas entertain the same anxieties as the early Gothic regarding legitimacy, racial differen 1 2
2 In my two chapters, I uncover the repressed racial and sexual anxieties of Wuthering Heights and The Book of Lamentations respectively. I particularly focus on the female characters of the novels and their struggle for p ower in light of suffocating patriarchal structures. The psychological complexity of these female characters contrasts with male authors figured as either embodiments of virtue (such as The Castle of Otranto virginal maiden, Isabella, who flees from the tyrant Manfred through secret tunnels that lead to a church) or of sexual deviancy and transgression (such as the The Monk pregnancy out of wedlock by locking her in a dun geon and withholding food, causing the he female characters of Wuthering Heights and The Book of Lamentations resonate more strongly with the The Mysteries of Udolpho Emily St. Aubert, who exercises he r intellect through the contemplation of poetry, landscape, and suspect supernatural occurrences. Just as the early Gothic novels expressed in coded form anxieties relevant to the time in which they were conceived, Emily Bront and Rosario Castellanos cons truct narratives that express the anxieties of their times, particularly as women striving for autonomy and a written v oice in Victorian and twentieth century Mexican societies, heory and the notion of haunting to decode the anxieties embedded in not only the personal histories of the characters, but also the cultural consciousness in which Wuthering Heights and The Book of Lamentations were written
3 Chapter 1: Victorian Anxiety and Repression in Wuthering Heights Though Emily Bront Wuthering Heights (1847) is popularly remembered as a regarding racial difference, as well as female sexual difference, passion, and desire. The sexual anxieties within the Earnsha very structure points to the underlying dynamics of repression. The multiple frames of the novel manifest a seemingly structured textual consciousness. Obscure moments of dreams and fits of passion man ifest the return of the repressed within the world of the novel, pointing to nineteenth century British anxieties made event in this major novel. Structure and Framing Wuthering Heights Mr. Lockwood is a native Londoner who travels to the north of England f or respite from his urban home and provides the occasion for the story of the Earnshaw and Linton families. Nelly Dean was originally installed as a sort of companion at Wuthering Heights to Hareton, the eldest of the Earnshaw children; she now resides at Thrushcross Grange where she attends Catherine Earnshaw, the next hers is the only available source for elucidatin
4 Heights. Like Nelly, Lockwood is also unreliable or liable to unperceptive readings, for example he mistakes the second younger Catherine Earnshaw 3 when she is actually his daughter in dynamics of Wuthering Heights signals that the truth of narrative is not immediately apparent to the reader either, provoking a more suspicious reading of the novel and by extension of the consciousness of nineteenth century England. The narrative framing of Wuthering Heights and its two unreliable narrators alert the reader to the problem of repressed knowledge. This in turn demands that we read with attention, seeking to uncover that which the narrative has suggested will be hidden. What we uncover when we read in this way is a tale of raced and gendered violence and domination that perpetuates itself from one generation to the next. Racial Anxiety: First Meetings with Heathcliff: Lockwood and Nelly not yet learned the history of the inhabitants of Wuthering H eights and Thrushcross skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman, that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, bred gentleman and land owner, though he appears immediately to Lo ckwood to be like a 3 or Catherine.
5 a member of a wandering race (by themselves called Romany ), of Hindu origin, which first appeared in England about the beginning of the dealing, fortune telling, etc ("Gypsy," def 1). lineage, but also points to or perhaps justifies the hostility Nelly later tells us that he that Earnshaw found on the streets of Liverpool and brought home out of misplaced pity (29). The di ction Nelly utilizes to describe her first encounter with Heathcliff emphasizes Englishness. Heat Wuthering Heights Mr. Earnshaw brings Heathcliff home commerce i Heathcliff is found in Liverpool, the residents of Wuthering Heights have no real evidence to designate him as descended from slaves or as having African ancestry they
6 Mr. Earnshaw does not prevent the heir, Hindley, from reducing him to the standing of a serv Wuthering Heights, evolving from juvenile pinches to violent thrashings and imposed servitude. As adolescents, they experience their first quarrel over colts that Mr. Earnshaw healthy colt. This erupts into a violent sce throws an iron weight at his chest. 4 telling) willing to take any abuse so long as it serves his eventual purpose and gets him his desire. Hindley subsequently affirms Nel Hindley disdains Heathc liff not solely because he is a non English outsider, but because Earnshaw treasures Heathcliff, christened with the name of a son who died in childhood, y of his attention; by contrast, Hindley views Heathcliff as an 4 not yet called by that name was taking its place as a powerful social force in England, twenty three years after the founding of the Society for the Protection of Cruelty to also functions as analogue to the helpless animal body that becomes victim o
7 master and slave relationship s that render Wuthering Heights a Gothic microcosm, a site where the base and violent energies of the characters emerge and proliferate treatment of Heathcliff proves that in Wuthering Heights power is synonymous with violence and stripping hum ans of freedom and dignity: In the novel the Heights, corrupted by the introduction of the racially other, is the place where the figures of a system of bondage work out their relationships. These relationships are represented according to principles common to abolitionist, anti abolitionist, and Anglo Saxon racialist discourses available at the time the novel was composed. Heathcliff, Hindley and the elder Catherine are the agents who act out these relationships and principles. (von Sneidern, 174 5) H Mr. Earnshaw brings Heathcliff home to Wuthering Heights; Hindley and Cathy respond violently when they discover that their requested gifts, a fiddle and a whip respective ly, have been destroyed or lost as Mr. Earnshaw carried Heathcliff inside his coat. entrance incites from Hindley and Cathy, but also because of the particular objects that Heathcliff inadvertently destroys: Hindley and Cathy contented themselves with looking an d listening till the presents he had promised them. The former was a boy of fourteen, but
8 when he drew out what had been a fiddle, crushed to morsels in the great coat, he blubbered aloud, and Cathy, when she learnt the master had lost her whip in attending on the stranger, showed her humour by grinning and spitting at the stupid little thing, earning for her pains a sound blow from her father to teach her cleaner manners. (30) Hindl Heathcliff in terms of paternal affirmation. In place of his expected souvenir, Hin dley receives a strange child whom he labels privileges To compensate for the loss of his shattered fiddle, Hindley punishes the Heathcliff for his illegitimate entrance into the Earnsha w family much as a firstborn child may resent and fantasize about sending back a new sibling the Earnshaw family and prefigures his eventual usurpation of Wuthering Heights itself; the term highlights the repressed anxieties of the Earnshaw family and of Victorian society as a whole about legitimate inheritance and tainted family lines. It is unsettling to the Victo rian mentality that the racial other is admitted into a long established English family at the same time as the British Empire represents itself as a maternally inclusive power for all of its adopted peoples. The Earnshaws are, as Nelly Dean tells us, an old respected family with a long lineage the ideal of English primogeniture. But Heathcliff breaks this tradition. Not only does the patriarc h of the family favor Heathcliff above his other true born children,
9 but he also expects and demands that his wife and children accept him as part of their family almost like d emanding that they accept an illegitimate child Moreover, the very from the late 1700s into the early 1800s: In the late eighteenth century, the term family still was used in England and France to designate resident kinsfolk a s well as domestic servants, in sofar as both were subject to the same patriarchal head. The nineteenth century family was the first to join elements of kinship and coresidence and generally to excl ude servants and other kin beyond the married couple and their offspring. Thus, by 1829, James Mill had narrowed the structural The Group, which consists of a Father, Mother, an d Lawrence Stone i denti fies this grouping as clos in the key middle and upper sectors o (Lamonica, 10 11) According to nineteenth century Victorian mentality, the admission of a non English e ntity with no lineage into the sacred nuclear family would be a great violation, rendering family 5 And how much greater the anxiety when this non English entity, one whose humanity is continually questioned throu ghout the novel, acquires the education and monetary means to render himself a gentleman and 5 Unheimlich home demonstrate the eighteenth century Gothic as a mode that presents the utterly familiar as strange, rendering family Wuthering Heights similarly deconstructs the family, presenting the proliferati
10 hall? a birth that allows him to enact his design of revenge onto Hindley. 6 Once Heathcliff acquires powe r, he reignites and reorganizes the system of bondage that his entrance into the Earnshaw family initiated. After defeating the profligate Hindley in a game of cards, Heathcliff acquires the property of Wuthering Heights, rendering himself a tyrant and Hin dley his financial subordinate. mine even going so far as to describe Hareton to Nelly In a critical metaphorical activity in which the novel represents Heathcliff as a grim parody of those whom he supplants Heathcliff gives back to his victims an ironic image of thei r own repressed significance: grotesquely repeating or exaggerating the characteristics of those he ousts, 6 whe as a natural addition to the family (97).
11 Heathcliff's deeds reveal the lines of force that invisibly constituted these characteristics in the first place (Vine, 342) Treating Hareton as a n on characteristics of his own youth under the tyranny of Hindley, namely isolation and deprivation of education. Heathcliff perpetuates the cycle of treating humans as non humans, a behavior learne his traumatic degradation onto Hareton evokes original display dynamics of the world of W uthering Heights to our attention as readers. own punishment. Hindley exemplifies this dynamic most aptly, inducing Heathcliff to oppress and strip his only son Hareton of his rightful property. Hareton quintessentially Hindley refers to Hareton as a dog in a manner highly reminiscent of his treatment of Heathcliff, and, in a drunken moment, drops his infant son over the banister of a set of arrived underneath just at the critical moment; by a natural impulse, he arrested his descent, and setting him on hi carelessly thrusting him into the arms of his future oppressor. The crisis, then, emanates not directly from Heathcliff but from within the members of the family he enters. Just as repression is cyclical Heathcliff absorbs and reenacts these violent energies, engaging in vengeful acts until he is able to unite with Cathy.
12 significant, prefiguring his temporal separation from Cathy when she matures into a lady and marries Edgar Linton rather than himself. Like Hindley, the genteel Lintons provide Heath cliff an example of what it is to possess power. Curious how the Lintons spend their evenings, Heathcliff and Cathy go to Thrushcross Grange to spy on them. When the young Heathcliff and Cathy first peer through the Grange window standing on a flower pot, they witness the children, Edgar and Isabella, violently fighting over their dog. Heathcliff tells Nelly: And now, guess what your good children were doing? Isabella I believe she is eleven a year younger than Cathy lay screaming at the farther end of the room, shrieking as if witches were running red hot needles into her. Edgar stood on the hearth weeping silently, and in the middle of the table sat a little dog shaking its paw and yelping, which, from their mutual accusations, we understood they had nearl y pulled in two between them. (38) covered chairs and tables, and a pure white ceiling bordered b (38). The ostentatious elegance of the Grange starkly contrasts with the primitive construction of Wuthering Heights, as well as the natural landscape of the Yorkshire moors on which Heathcliff and
13 their gentility, the Linton children ar e as violent as the Earnshaw children, though with less cause, inflicting pain onto a domesticated animal. Cathy and Heathcliff laugh as they spy on the Lintons at the window, provoking kle; Mr. and Mrs. Linton, who recognize Cathy from church, insist that Cathy stay at Thrushcross Grange to recuperate. Mr. Linton assumes Heathcliff is the child Mr. Earnshaw brought home eighbour made in his journey to Liverpool that is, an East Indian, o r of American or Spanish lineage exotic object. Just as the Earnshaws descri dehumanize Heathcliff from the onset of their acquaintance. The Lintons welcome Cathy into their home on account of her name (she is an ho Heathcliff has been ostracized from both the Earnshaw and Linton homes because of his unknown lineage and uncivilized manners. The Lintons regard Heathcliff as an infection whose pres ence
14 The greatest injury the Lintons inflict on Heathcliff, however, is not their ostracizing him from their home, but separating him from Cathy. During her five wee k recuperation at Thrushcross Grange, Cathy becomes a lady; when she returns to hands are (42). Now a lady, Cathy is even more divided from Heathcliff; his status as ques gentility. Heathcliff no longer feels accepted by his formerly rugged companion, who struggles to balance her time between Heathcliff and her new friends, Edgar and Isabella. Durin Hindley. This s cene manifests a proliferation of violence directed at Heathcliff, and it proceeds from his central oppressors: Hindley and Edgar. Heathcliff declares his plans to b strategizes his revenge on his first oppressor for separating Heathcliff from Cathy and degrading him to the status of a servant. After three years of friendship, Edgar and Cathy become engaged. Edgar is the Cathy, he threatens to monopolize the love and affection Cathy has long reserved for Heathcliff. Though he does not verbalize his plan s for revenge on Edgar prior to leaving Wuthering Heights as he does for Hindley, Heathcliff returns with the necessary attributes to get revenge on both. Now a gentleman with education and money, Heathcliff
15 s and his rebellious manliness secures the romantic interest of Isabella Linton. secure Thrushcross Grange through her. Isabella, in spite of her genteel blood, is not a Vict orian angel but a woman whose sexual desire for Heathcliff is so potent that not even his violent treatment of her lapdog (which he hangs with her handkerchief on the same night that he elopes with Isabella) ctions as a dramatic echo of Edgar and Isabel la fighting over their dog as children, uncovering the represse d violence that genteel (supposedly self controlled) children originally displayed to Heathcliff. Heathcliff, who ente social dynamics in a domestic atmosphere, learns through his interactions with the Earnshaw children that power is synonymous with the ability to inflict pain onto others. Through his observations of the Linton children inflicting pain on a helpless spaniel, Heathcliff also learns that gentility is not synonymous with temperament, but that and passionate dominatio n and kind of litmus test, repeating and revealing the violence that is apparently covered over by old family names and polite manners. In this way, Heathcliff himself is a kind of return of the repressed or a catalyst that makes visible the real violence of other characters and their relations.
16 Sexual Anxiety and Female Sexual Difference a conversation with this woman, and that when she finally returned his glance, he Lockwood thus defamiliarizes and objectifies the female before he even sets foot in communicate. 7 representation as a gallant man, one attractive to women, is probably false. Secondly, it suggests that while he is attracted to the idea of romancing women, in fact he fears women and is distressed when they turn their attention to him and so break his distanced idealized version of their relationship. Lockwood describes the first female that he encounters at Wuthering Heights, the second Catherine Lockwood finds Catherine mysterious and intriguing, yet her outspoken nature reveals her to be an outlier in the realm of the Victorian ideal of the quiet and passive female. He focuses on her flushed abstract mythical figure but a sensual, speaking human. It is also problematic for (9). Catherine not only returns 7 Wuthering Heights Garofa availability is a turn
17 his gaze to obtain the recognition that i t has ambivalently solicited. In each case, the These females subversively reverse the dominance of the gaze, castrating Lockwood and resisting his voyeuristic privilege. Lo ckwood also indicates that he considers himself m he surmises to be respond properly to female interest, and women of his own class emasculate him with their mere gazes. This sets the reader up to expect and search for male fear of female sexual in terest and passion in the novel and to distrust the Victorian convention of men as sexual initiators and women as pas sive and modest recipients of male attention. child ghost during his stay in her childhood bedroom at Wuthering Heights. This haunting episode is of singular importance, raising t he question of what this haunting signifies. The episode renders the female and the child as both unfamiliar and female sexual difference: Haunting raises specters, and it alters the experience of being in time, the way we separate the past, the present, and the future. These specters or ghosts appear when the trouble they represent and symptomize is no longer being contained or repressed or blocked from view. The gh ost, as I understand it, is not the invisible or some ineffable excess. The whole
18 essence, if you can use that word, of a ghost is that it has a real presence and demands its due, your attention. Haunting and the appearance of specters or ghosts is one way concealed is very much alive and present, interfering precisely with those always incomplete forms of containment and repression ceaselessly directed toward us. (Gordon, xvi) In short, ghosts signal the return of the r epressed or willfully forgotten that refuses to stay forgotten. child ghost after reading entries from her childhood diary an invasion into her interior personal thoughts in which the reader participates. The diary, a detail the oppression that she and Heathcliff experience as children under Hindley and Joseph, forcibly os tracized from one another and forced to tedious perusal of prayer (Gordon, xvi). me in ghost, but more viscerally Lockwood into passive reception through this demanding grasp. The ghost attempts to
19 break not only through the window into the bedroom, but also through the various narrative layers of the text spe aking more directly to us. Her haunting renders her not dissident female behavior causes the Victorian mindset. It seems significant and particularly horrifying too th at it is the child version of Cathy who returns Cathy before with Heathcliff on the moors. Mr. Earnshaw brings Heathcliff home from Liverpool. Her requested gift was a whip, but instead she receives Heathcliff. Although the novel represents Cathy as disappointed not to receive her whip, Sandra Gilbert maintains that Heathcliff takes its place: [Cathy] gets her whip. She gets it figuratively functions just as she must have unconsciously have hoped it would, smashing her rival g a desirable third among the children in the family so as to insulate her from the pressure of her (Gilbert, 386 7) gender, race, class, and soci domineering behavior with her peers transgresse s the Victorian expectation that female children be docile and virtuous:
20 Parents expected girls to be ladies, and so daughters could not participate equally with their brothers even adults Cathy as a female is unable to exact. Cathy explains to Nelly that following her education by the Lintons, she now recognizes that to marry Heathcliff would be to degrade herself. Heathcliff overhears her separation is only temporal; the book suggests that thei r fate is to wander the moors as ghosts, thereby eventually becomes the rude savages they vowed to become as children. ghost haunting Lockwood, Cathy designates Heathcliff as her very soul after she confid es her engagement to Edgar Linton to Nelly. In a conversation that Heathcliff overhears, Cathy explains that her motivation for marrying Edgar is to aid Heathcliff financially so that he can be free of nrealistic expectation and that she cannot expect Edgar to acquiesce to her plan. In response to Nelly, Cathy declares: am Heathcliff not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself but, as my own
21 that it is actually indicative of her desire for power. Through this quasi spiritual declaration, Cathy now christens Heathcliff as extension of herself, as the whip who will achieve their joint revenge on Hindley both for his treatment of them and for his privilege as the male son and heir. forceful assertion that Heathcliff is her soul begs a deeper reading. Her claiming a synonymous identity with Heathcliff transgresses Victorian race, inconceivable according to the socially sanctioned bounda ries that segregate genders and classes, as well as the familial and the nonfamilial (except through the unifying force of (Lamonica, 101). Cathy, a female without property, claim internal property (his soul) so that he can gain external property (Wuthering Heights) and carry out their revenge. outbreaks are indicative of her anger that she has lost her whip in Heathcliff, and of her desire to challenge patriarchal domination. After Cathy announces her engagement to Nelly and Heathcliff departs, Cathy falls ill. Even after regaining her health, Cathy uses her recent illness as an exc use to receive attention and dominate others. Nelly, the servant their marriage and thereby ally the Earnshaw and Linton families. Cathy, who marries Edgar three years later, struggles to exert control in male dominated spheres Hindley
22 desire (to gain social standing and hopefully property), turning her own instrument of manipulation into a weapon against her interests. Early in their marriage, Cathy holds considerable sway over Edgar, who is careful not to excite her violent temper. But when Heat hcliff returns to Wuthering Heights, Edgar demands that Cathy and Heathcliff never see one another, inciting her to another outbreak of passion. Now it is Edgar who is the tyrant separating Cathy from Heathcliff: ed her into a social system that denies her (Gilbert, 391). separation of Cathy and Heathcliff reopens the wound of their separation at the hands of Hindley, as well as their separation as children when Cathy remained at Thrushcross Grange to recuperate from the dog bite and returned as an alienated lady. To counteract aims her body as an instrument of manipulation, declaring inflicted illness turns into the fever that leads to her death. Directly preceding her death, Cathy rejects the proper confines of marriage, and reclaims Heathcliff as her whip. In what Nelly describes as hallucinations, Cathy envisions her childhood bedroom at Wuthering Heights, and declares that she longs not to Cathy initiates the process of attaining her autonomy from her role as a lady and wife by rejecting Edgar; instead of passively receiving him when he attends her at her sick bed, she declares him re ever found when least wanted, and After verbally rejecting Edgar, Cathy reclaims Heathcliff
23 her; he attempted to rise, but she seized declares that she will take Heathcliff with her to the grave, thus setting him on to the next generation to carry out her revenge. Once again, Cathy reifies her self identification with Heathcliff, thereby tra nsgressing the bonds of her marriage to Edgar as well as boundaries between social classes and even life and death, as she anxiously anticipates Aft calls on her spirit to haunt him for the remainder of his life, throughout which he carries out his role as her whip by manipulating the p ersistently highlight the racial and sexual anxieties of the novel ; he targets his revenge on Hindley and Edgar, the two propertied men who have degraded him the most and enforced his separation from Cathy. Heathcliff imposes the same degradation he receiv ed was not innate, but learned. Finally, to get revenge on Edgar, Heathcliff marries and s legitimately in the line of inheritance. After being imprisoned by Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights, Isabella runs away and raises their son, Linton Heathcliff, until her death thirteen years later. After her death, Edgar brings Linton to Thrushcross Gran ge to raise him. When Heathcliff hears his son is at Thrushcross Grange, however, he seizes him from Edgar with the intent that Linton
24 Heathcliff imprisons and forces Catherine to marry Linton; yet even his second attempt at securing Thrushcross Grange is futile, as the sickly Linton dies soon after marrying Catherine without providing a male hands of trustees. Without an h to fruition, but Heathcliff himself has refocused on his own lost love and drops his designs to cont inue imposing his own sufferings on future generations. In spite of novel just as he entered: without family, status, or lineage. His perpetuation of torture and coercio n onto Isabella, Hareton, and Catherine does not incite the other characters to question the source and cause of his horrific and atrocious behavior. Rather than attribute it to the very same torture and degradation that has been inflicted onto him, they a ttribute Earnshaw and is as if the dark and disturbing material of the book is concentrated in Heathcliff, who bears both the blame for it and who purges it with his final deat h. Wuthering Heights ends neatly with the marriage of Catherine Linton, a more tempered version of her mother, and Hareton Earnshaw, son of Hindley and a refined quasi Heathcliff only because the violent energies of the first generation of Earnshaws
25 reemerging social violence in subsequent generations of Wuthering Heights and Hareton immune to future violence. Catherine and Hareton have inherited violent tendencies from their mother and father, and Hareton, having spent the majority of his life degraded by Heathcliff, is prone to reenacting that degradation onto another. through the focus on Heat hcliff and Cathy as producing sources of anxiety for Victorian reading audiences. Wuthering Heights masks as a passionate romantic story a tale that combines marked racial difference (Heathcliff is not the same blood, his ancestry is t look like the civilized English Lintons or even the more rugged always passionate, strongly expressed, and embodied from her anger at the lost whip to her physically grasp ing Heathcliff while nearly on her deathbed). The narration of Lockwood invites us to read beneath the surfaces, seeing below his self representation as a sophisticated and romantic admirer of women a man who secretly fears women and particularly that they themselves might have desires and designs on him. The second autonomy bounded as a story about bad education. But from the ghostly encounter at the beginning to her possessi on of Heathcliff that ultimately drives him to unite with her
26 violence in order to get what she wants as counter narrative to the Victorian ideal of domestic angels. Even Isa likewise a struggle for control. Throughout this novel, anxieties about familial relations, lines of inheritance, and proper femininity surface as repressed material breaks through, even if a t the end it seems confined to the graves of Cathy and Heathcliff and the moors where their child ghosts wander together.
27 Chapter 2: Sins of the Past and the Return of the Repressed in The Book of Lamentations Chapter One demonstrate d that though Wuthering Heights narrative frames seem neatly to separate the past from the present, repressed sexual and racial anxieties cont inually resurface, blurring seemingly disparate time periods and highlighting the family drama of violence across two generations In this chapter, I argue that in Rosario The Book of Lamentations (1962), we once again face a narrative in which repressed material returns. Like Wuthering Heights The Book of Lamentations is a drama cen tered on key families. Their sins of sexual and racial violence create a world akin to Wuthering Heights where power manifests through violence and the past haunts the present. Like Wuthering Heights The Book of Lamentations features a multilayered narra tive structure that augments this theme of return. While The Book of Lamentations narrative structure does not feature multiple narrators like Wuthering Heights i t does feature a polyphonic construction with a narrator whose origins remain unknown. The B ook of Lamentations also contains multiple historical frames Castellanos references and conflates two specific events in the history of Mexico, an 1867 Indian uprising and the 1930s Cardenista land reforms. This conflation functions similarly to Wuthering Heights narrators to invoke the past as haunting the present of the narration.
28 Mythic Pasts The past is realized in the present of The Book of Lamentations from the very beginning, via a n epigraph from The Book of the Council, a sacred Mayan text, which precedes the narrative The Book of the Council belongs to the tradition of the Maya Books of Chilam Balam. Certain chilams or Maya priests, composed these texts after the Spanish invasion using alphabetic writing learned from Christian fr iars Though they were written postconquest in the sixteenth century, the contents of each book p oint toward the earlier past while their mythic approach links also with the future. The books contain religious, historical, poetic, calendric, and astrological c ompositions, constructed according to the Maya understanding of time as recurrent (Portilla, 452 3). This temporal construction of a cyclical sacred time accords with The Book of Lamentations This synchronic t ime frame also links to the future and constitutes the prophetic diction of the Books of Chilam Balam Following the tradition of the Jeremiad (a popular name for a lamentation or warning), the epigraph that precedes the narrative is punitive; it addresses punishment, highlighting twee n the Caxlans (the white, Spanish speaking people ) and the Tzotzils (or native ethnic group in Chiapas) he original Spanish title of the novel, Oficio de tinieblas which refers to the Roman Cathol ic liturgical ceremony known as Tenebrae conducted on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy
29 Tenebrae (triangular candlestick) are gradually extinguished as psalms referring to the Passion and excerpts from the prophecy and lamentations of Jeremiah are sung or read aloud. 8 In the novel, this mournful ceremony highlights the climax of the Tzotzil drama, when the ilol or shaman, Ca talina ushers the Tzotzil people to crucify her adopted son, Domingo, in the dilapidated church of San Juan in Chamula. The English title, on the other hand clearly invokes the biblical Book of Lamentations This alternate title is appropriate because e xcerpts from this book of the Bible are read during the Tenebrae service, and also because of its thematic implications for the work as a whole The Book of Lamentations is traditionally ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah, who mourns the fall of Jerusalem in 857 BCE an d the destruction of the Temple. This is held by Christians to foretell to prefigure literally, the crucifixion itself with the body of Christ as the violated temple. 9 Jeremiah laments the misery and mourning of the Israelites conquered by the Chaldeans, paralleling the Book of Council tation that conquest and the loss of something sacred will be central theme s in The Book of Lamentations Mayan and Hebrew sacred texts and Christian liturgical practices then, all frame T he first chapter of The Book of Lamentations opens with a creation myth of Chamula that fuses the Tzotzil a nd the Caxln religious traditions. The mythic 8 A C atholic Dictionary 9 The Jerusalem Bible
30 voice opens the novel by relati ng the creation myth of Chamula. Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico, and chooses Chamula as the valley where he desires to be worshiped. He gathers materials to build his church by turning sheep into stone. The inhabitants of the valley of Chamula, the Tzotzils, cannot comprehend this supernatural occurrence producing only confused stammerings s confusion, the Caxlans arrive from Ciudad Real to decipher the enigma of the petrified sheep. The Caxlans also do not fully understand the phenomenon, save the command that work be done. The Castilians, who arrive naturally and ling uistically have the upper hand over the Tzotzils (1). The Caxlans s constructed walls fall down each night, until San Juan comes in person to push and gather the stones himself. The The church becomes the center of the city in this origin myth. Likewise, it will later be the center of the climax of the novel where the Tzotzils carry out the crucifixion of Domingo. T s lifeways and autonomy (negative loss) juxtaposes with the construction of the Caxlans Tzotzils, this creation story is paradoxically a lso a story of death and loss. San Juan penetrates the idyllic Chamula valley to incite the construction of his church in which
31 centerpi Saint John the Baptist appears in the New Testament as the forerunner who announces the coming of the Messiah, repeated in da rker tones in this creation myth that is also a story of loss and exile. The centrality of in the church. San Juan s end their sacrifice is futile and does not provide them with the power or immortality that they seek The Book of Lamentations marked by death from the onse t, persists in representing the Tzotzils as a defeated entity on account of their contact with the Caxlans ; the Conqu est is not relegated to the past but reigns in the present and manifests over and over through characters hungry for power. Haunting The s tructure of The Book of Lamentations blurs the past and the present, and done alive in 1930s Mexico. In The Book of Lamentations social violence also reemerges ed spheres of Chamula and Ciudad Real In this chapter, I dissect the manifestations of the violent impulse that continually rule these inhabitants, particularly the female cha racters of the novel who interpolate the attitudes of the conquistadors This interpolation is similar to H episodes of behavi or learned from his oppressors; the extreme oppression of women, particularly of native women, leads directl y to the repetition of the sins of conquest.
32 Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok expand haunting as indicative of unresolved social violence Rand introduces the ir as innovative on the : The concept of the phantom moves the focus of psychoanalytic inquiry beyond the individual being analyzed because it postulates that some people unwittingly represents a radical reorientation of Freudian and post Freudian theories of conflicts, traumas, or secrets. (Rand 166 ) Abraham identifies the phantom Abraham and Torok understanding of the transgenerational ghost as a manifestation of the return of the repressed may be helpfully applied to the characters of The Book of Lamentations who inherit and reenact cultural consciousness as a site of conquest. Here haunting represents a return of the traumatic past that current ch aracters themselves may not have experienced personally. I n The Book of Lamentations I frame my understanding of the female characters according to three female figures of Mexican history: the Virgin of Guadalupe, Malinche, and Sor Juana Ins de la Cruz. Although The Book of Lamentations does not contain any explicit allusions to these figures, Castellanos does discuss them explicitly in her essays
33 and poems. It is my intuition that by injecting the various fragmented identities of these symbolic figures of Mexican femininity into her female characters, Castellanos brings to the fore the festering wounds of sexual and racial violence inflicted upon Mexican women. Castellanos contemplates these figures of femi ninity most notably in her two essays Woman and Her s that in the course of history by which she means men have objectified women, confining them to an existence of passivity, obedience, ignorance, and incapability of volition (Castellanos, 236) In es these feminine figures in detail. The Virgin of Guadalupe, Patroness of Mexico and Latin America, embodies motherhood as well as the unification of the conquistadors and the conquered, who both entertained a devotion to her. As Ahern reminds the reader in her notes, La Malinche is a complex figure, embodying both the betrayed and the traitor, both the seductress and the sexual victim : Malinche, born near Veracruz around 1500, was the daughter of the local Indian ruler whose family sold her into slavery to Mayan speaking peoples to the south. Given as a present to Hernn Corts in 1519, she became his interpreter, counselor, and mistress. As the voice who spoke for Corts, she played a key role in the rapid Spanish conquest of Mexico and Central America. Her name has become a symbol of betrayal to foreign interests, a stereotype that ignores her original betr ayal by her own mother. (Ahern 222)
34 Legend a in Castellanos notes the dichotomy between the Virgin of Guadalupe, the cosmic mother of the Inca most irrational aspect, the one least reducible to moral laws, most indifferent t o cultural 223). Having become synonymous with the figure of La C hingada one La Malinche melds racial and sexual violence. La Malinche is a complex and paradoxical figure who is reflected in the women of The Book of Lamentations as haunting the present. ng female figures. Sor Juana, ers 224). She entered the monastery to pursue her intellectual vocation, there by rejecting the only other available vocation for women of her time: motherhood. Sor Juana is important to Castellanos because she used her hands not for cooking or sewing, but for writing, becoming a figure for the woman who writes and so speaks publicly fissures of oppressive patriarchal structures, and she initiated the process of reclaiming pleasure but to articulate her psychologi cal brilliance. I n The Book of Lamentations women in 1930s Mexico still struggle to choose their destiny in the face of oppressive patriarchal and colonial structures. Unlike Sor Juana, most women in the novel do not achieve a written voice but remain tra pped inside
35 their own minds or are ultimately silenced. The most startling mental entrapment occurs with Marcela, whose rape by Leonardo reenacts the violent meeting of the Caxln and Tzotzil worlds. The Sin of Originary Rape: Connections between Caxla n s a nd Tzotzil s After the San Juan creation story, chapter one transitions to the Tzotzil world. A group of Ladina s 10 attack and rob a group of Tzotzil women as they follow the ilol Catalina Daz Puilj in a procession toward Ciudad Real. A young Tzotzil woman, Marcela Gmez Oso, flees from the chaotic scene and wanders the streets of Ciudad Real, hoping to sell her pitchers. She is relieved when a middle aged woman, Mercedes Solrza no, speaks to her in Tzotzil rather than Castilian and agrees to purchase her pitchers. Mercedes, in actuality a Ladina house and arranges liaisons for him with unsuspecting Indian women like Marcela. Mercedes rapes the virginal Marcela, after which she frantically flees back to Chamula. Mercedes channels the figure of Malinche ; fluent in both Tzotzil and Castilian, Mercedes mediates Leona rdo Leonardo Cifuentes is a wealthy Caxln landowner who progressively gains power throughout the novel, manipulating both Church and civic leaders to ensure that the land reform fails, depriving Indians of their righ tful land and increasing his power and holdings. He is a ruthless tyrant, guilty of the murder of his adoptive brother father) the instigation of the murder of Padre Manuel, infidelit y to his wife, and 10 A Ladino or Ladina is a person of mixed or pure Spanish descent who does not belong to an Indian community (Castellanos, 380).
36 repeatedly violent sexual predations on wo source of wealth remain unknown throughout the novel. As an orphan and child, Leonardo lived i n a convent where (61). His adoptive stepbrother, Isidoro, took Leonardo under his wing and forced his affluent parents to adopt Leonardo Heathcliff into the Earnshaw family. when Leonardo during their sexual encounter (13). The anxiety that Leonardo experienced when he lost his virginity, coupled with his negative experience with nuns when he lived in a convent, su portraying himself as a ladykiller; but Lockwood never achieves sexual domination of women, o nly voyeuristic pleasure until a woman dominates him, in turn, by merely returning his gaze. Leonardo, on the other hand, works through his fear of women through repeated sexual predation, of native women in particular. Through Mercedes, we learn that Leon ardo has a predilection for young Tzotzil variety. People who eat pheasant every day are probably craving a plate of beans. But an not only dehumanizes the native female body, but reduces it to garbage marking it as an object that is inherently dirty and worthless. Mercedes also frames rence for young Tzotzil women as a compulsion When the conquistadors arrived in the
37 Americas, they outnumbered the Spanish women, leading them to take Indian women as sexual partn ers (Skidmore and Smith, 18). sire to violate young Tzotzil women and his rape of Mar cela materialize and act out the prior sexual and racial crimes of the conquistadors and their rape of Mexico. This rape, the primal sin of the novel, points toward the original sins of the Conquest, establishing a synchronic relation His character incarnates what Mexican writer Octavio Paz describes as the gran chingn macho is the gran chingn One word sums up the aggressiveness, insensitivity, invulnerability, and other attributes of the macho : power. It is force without the discipline of any notion of order: arbitrary power, the will without reins and without a ; his rape of Marcela is one of his chingaderas or detestable Mexican icon of El C hingn Marcela emphasize his dominance an together the sins of sexual and of ra cial violence that found the Mexican state of Chiapas. The sexual seizing of women and the colonial seizure of land are woven together in the rape of a native Tzotzil wo man by the landowner of supposedly Castilian heritage. The verb chingar carries violent, usually sexual connotations. Octavio Paz chingar a woman without actually possessing her. And when it does allude to the sexual act, violation or o is the perpetrator of the violent treacherous act El C hingn then Marcela is its recipient La C hingada The verb chingar
38 structures a dichotomy that h ighlights the power dynamic between the characters of the novel. The icon of La C hingada also carries a cultural history that links to the Conquest, particularly according to the tale of La Malinche : If the Chingada is a representation of the violated Moth er, it is appropriate to associate her with the Conquest, which was also a violation, not only in the historical sense but also in the very flesh of Indian women. The symbol of this violation is doa Malinche, the mistress of Corts. It is true that she ga ve herself voluntarily to the conquistador, but he forgot her as soon as her usefulness was over. (Paz, 86) La C hingada and L a Malinche in various ways. As an indigenous woman raped and impregnated by a Caxln, Marcela both sacred as the mother and marked by sexual crime as the survivor of rape. Moreover, the violation she endures echoes the violations of the Conquest the male conquistadors arrived not only to usurp indigeno us land, but also to take the indige nous women as sexual partners (Burns, 20). La Malinche not only as La Chingada but also as the betrayed daughter. When Marcela returns to Chamula her mother, F elipa, verbally and physically harasses her for having no money from selling her pitchers in Ciudad Real. When Felipa calls Marcela cabrona (a derogatory Caxln word) 11 11 See Real Academia Espaola. adj. Mx. Dicho de una persona: De mal carcter (Real Ac ademia Espaola). an animal human equation that is intended as demeaning and possibly implies sexual promiscuity.
39 nal comfort for Marcela, but instead oppresses her marking the internalized violence with a Spanish ( conquistador ) not only taken illicitly by the colonizing landowner, but blamed for it by her own mother who names her shame in the language of the Spanish colonizers. The ilol the indigenous women are based on power. After Catalina commands that Felipa stop abusing Marc ela and surrender you are estranged from me You are no longer in my power equating family bonds with power over someone Marcela is exc being sold into slavery during the Conquest; Felipa and Catalina rework the trauma of the sexual sins the conquistadors inflicted upon indigenous women, represented through the figure of Malinche, but here that original trauma is reenacted by native women as though those who suffered now seek to impose that suffering on others who are under their sway. After being raped, Marcela verbally shuts down and finds shelter in the recesses of he r mind n. Leonardo uses Marcela as an object to satisfy his sexual compulsion a
40 as a sacred vessel whose fruit will provide her with the child she has been unable to conceive. impotent brother, Lorenzo. A perverse echo of the Vi rgin Mary, Marcela conceives her child not through willing submission to divine will but through violation. A perverse echo of the biblical Joseph (who discovers through an angel that his proposed wife is pregnant with Mary during their marriage), Lorenzo cannot have sex with Marcela and disturb her pregnancy. that she ing that could be said, that other people could hear and understand. Not vertigo, not madness. She sighed, role over Marcela, but also attempts to secure control ove r the original sin of the novel. Lorenzo into a union that perversely echoes the Holy Family, Catalina begins her attempt
41 to rework the traumas that the Tzotzils have endu red at the hands of the Caxlans: dispossession of religion and of land (which here is equated with native female bodies). When Marcela becomes aware of her pregnancy, the narrator describes the infant as already crushing her down with catastrophic for whomever suffers signifying the transgressive deed that engendered the pregnancy. In addition, abject: relating to the biological functions of the body. Kristeva argues that the direct physical relation between motherhood and many of the more elemental bodily functions makes the mother an ideal a bject figure. (Finnegan, 1008) borders between the Caxlans and th e Tzotzils disintegrate in the body of her hybrid child, and the sacred story of the virgin birth is echoed in profane form in the forced pregnancy and coercive carrying to term of a child conceived in neither love nor religious ecstasy. Language also coll apses, as Marcela retreats inwardly and loses her voice.
42 become the vehicles through which tyrannical po wer structures are perpetuated and upheld, or, to put it another way, the monsters that emerge from the bodies of these the colonized. Marcela mentally detaches from her surroundings, particularly while she is in labor, in attempt to escape the t rauma of the violent intrusion she has endured whose fiber had been sapped by adversity, no longer protested. She nodded humbly. She watched the preparations for the birth without interest or even curiosity, as if the event 9). The ultimate victim, La Chingada Marcela cannot reenact her trauma by degrading anyone below her. Instead she becomes the unsuspecting handmaid of Catalina and retreats inwardly. Through her detachment, Marcela becomes ly half alive, damaged and silenced. Marcela accords experienced it themselves, and futi lely attempt to purge themselves of it through their power struggles with one another and with Leonardo.
43 Mysterious Origins and Sins of Murder: The Caxln Drama Leonardo Cifuentes is the tyrant who commits the original sin of rape in the novel, which I present as a metaphor for the Conquest of Mexico. His rape of Marcela initiates a string of violent attitudes among the Tzotzil women: Felipa scolds and hits Marcela for returning from Ciudad Real without the expected money from selling her pitchers and of suffocation and proliferat ion of violence in Ciudad Real 12 In the present of the novel, Through a contentious dialo gue with Isabel evident. As Leonardo criticizes Isabel for neglecting her duties as a lady of the house by not making preparations for a party he is holding (Mercedes, the Ladina prostitute, pla ns the party instead), Isabel accuses Leonardo of having an affair and murdering Isidoro. Leonardo claims that Isidoro died from a self inflicted gun wound when Leonardo was showing Isidoro his new pistol. Though Isabel asserts that Leonardo is guilty of I own innoce nce regarding his death is ambiguous. The narration implies that Isabel and unhappy in her marriage with Isidoro, a sickly, neurasthenic h ermit who hated social interaction. Around the time she was due to give birth to Idolina, Isidoro left for what he claimed was an urgent business trip because he feared the sight of her labor pain s During the remainder of her pregnancy and marriage to Isi doro, Isabe l compared her weak and 12 The colonial name of San Cristbal de Las Casas which was restored during the 1920s and 1930s when Ciudad Real is the name of the Spanish city to the south of Toledo in Castilla La Mancha that was the home of the conquistador of the Chiapas highlands (379 80).
44 explained everything. And women like Isabel do not forgive weakness. They value as a sign of manliness the whip the male uses to force the that Leonardo possesses and which controls Isabel is his sexual prowess his persona as El C hingn Through Isabel, we receive a glimpse of conversations she held with her suggest that erotic desires ruled her interactions with her brother in law. Though she denie s to her confessor that she led held for Leonardo while she was still marr wholeheartedly because the two of them had never once exchanged a word that needed to be concealed. Between them was silence, a palpitating, magnetic, portentous silence, a Here silence is more potent with desire than spoken passion would have been. knot, did they belong to each other deeply. And the great thirst he aroused in her was Ciudad Real in control of her base desires, her sexual desire for Leonardo dominates her desire for Leonardo is like an animalistic compulsion. Leonardo, also ruled by compulsion, seeks sexual satisfaction outside of their marriage with young Tzotzil women or his mistress, Julia Acevedo. Mercedes, the go betw
45 stripped of her privileges as the lady of the house, Isabel retreats to her sewing room where she embroid ers in silence. Though she appears a submissive angel in the house, violent energies rule Isabel and manifest most strongly in her degradation of Teresa her Tzotzil wetnurse After finca 13 Isabel was unable to lactate. Knowing that Teresa had recently gi ve n birth likewise Isabel demanded that Teresa come to the finca to feed Idolina Teresa knowing that she could not produce enough milk to feed two infants escaped several times, but Isa bel ordered vaqueros 14 to find Teresa. At the her husband threatened to beat her with a club because he blamed her death. Left without options, Teresa st ays with the Cifuentes family and eventually Isabel regards Teresa as an animal to be captured by vaqueros and deems to feed her baby and temporarily abandoned by Isidoro, Isabel exerts her power over a woman she can dominate because of her race and social class. In acts of similar violence, Leonardo forcibly impregnates Marcela while Isabel daughter. Marcela and Teresa are the two most vic timized characters of the novel: Marcela represents La Chingada the violated mother, and Teresa chann els La Chingada the woman dispossessed of her daughter r lost 13 Farm 14 Cowherds
46 223). While Marcela is detached from her pregnancy, Teresa is a site of motherhood she is invested in her daughter and so Teresa suffers a tragic loss. Deprived of her daughter and denied safety in her home, Teresa becomes the crippled surrogate mother and also her source of mobility. If arcela results in an infant who blends Caxln and Tzotzil blood, results in the mutual dependence of Teresa, a Tzotzil woman, and Idolina, a Caxln girl, blurring the borders betwee n two seemingly disparate worlds. he Malinche tale, particularly m proceeds to portray a young girl, the kingdom, the palace, and the warm belly / of the woman who bore me in legitimate mother when she marries her brother in to Corts, paralleling the betrayal Idolina feels when her mother, Isabel, marries t Leonardo murdered her father. Hamlet invoking yet another interpolated tale in addition to specific Mexican history and mythology. central motive is famously to prove that his uncl e Claudius is guilty of killing the late King Hamlet The play opens with Hamlet Hamlet experiences increasing
47 psychic fragmentation as the play progresses debating t he right action for a son who should revenge his father but also revere his mother, and a prince who should claim his throne but must expose family crimes to do so Like Hamlet Id olina signifies illness, inca rnated t hrough her sickly body. Both Hamlet and Idolina possess the covert knowledge that their uncle father s have murdered their fathers, and their desires for revenge are also attempts to reclaim their roles as rightful recipients of The return of pas t crimes and an anxiety surrounding legitimacy signals the Gothic return of the repressed and the problem of lineage and including its reiteration of other famous stories. Idolina first attempts to get revenge on Isabel a nd Leonardo in the early days of their marriage. As Idolina practices piano, Leonardo drunkenly mocks her. Overcome with hatred, she (69). But a fter taking a few steps toward him, she fa ints, and from then on lies in her dark bedroom, determined to never recuperate. In this scene, Idolina not only attempts to Leonardo, El Chingn of the original sin of rape in the novel. now lies in the manipulation of her body an oddly passive power she achieves only by suffering and punishing her own corporeal self She induces her own psychosomatic illness to render herself burdensome thereby punish ing her mother, Isabel, for her speedy remarriage to Leonardo sickness to hysteria and her constant desire for attention, and his scorn for her ruptures intimacy in his marriage with Isabel effectively breaking the marriage Idolina uses
48 Leonardo as a whip to punish her mother, much like Cathy uses Heathcliff as a whip Idolina also takes revenge on Isabel for her sin of causing daughter so that Idolina could live ; Idolina is bo daughter, residing within Idolina, is then another self inflicted illness rendering Idolina not only the sinner, but also the sinned against. For a period of time in the novel, Idolina walks and becomes healthy through the stress. A newcomer and wife of Fernando Ulloa, a government employee sent to Ciudad Real and Chamula to restore the Indians their rightful land, Julia arrives in Ciudad Real with the intention to climb its social ladder. The women and clergy of Ciudad Real view Julia as a sexual predator of men, sexual conduct (93). They denominate her L a Alazana 15 zation highlights her disordered sexual behavior in the novel, manifested through her affair with Leonardo and her desire to overthrow the patriarchal order that he represents. Granted her own mythical title, La Alazana undeniably channels the figure of La Malinche 223). Julia relies primarily on her sexual prowess to dominate Leonardo; in this way she attempts to 15 See Real Academia Espaola. adj. Dicho de un color: Ms o menos rojo, o muy parecido al de la canela (Real Academia Espaola) Said of a color that is reddish, or very similar to cinnamon.
49 rework the trauma that Marcela endures by taking on the role of El Chingn Julia is also an intellectual; she is adept at conversations regarding politics and lives according to a progressive ideology (she feels no qualms regarding her cohabitation with Fernando who is in actuality n ot her legal husband, nor her past abortion). She exhibits her shrewdness through her manipulation of Idolina; after catching Idolina ar of her secret being revealed. Julia intends to use animosity toward her family at some moments, her thirst for affection at others, Julia was securing a control over h her frequent visits to Idolina, Julia seeks to penetrate the domestic sphere of Leonardo of upper class women of Ciudad Rea l such as Isabel. When Idolina with Leonardo, however, Idolina returns to her bed and ceases to be an instrument of Julia also fails in her attempt to claim the role of El Chingn Leonardo tire s of Julia sexually, at the end of the novel viewing her as a hawk that he has captured and conquered. When they break up, Julia leaves Ciudad Real, only having attained status as a lady of Ciudad Real for a transitory period of time. Like Marcela, describ caged, though naturally predatory) animal. In spite of her intellect and sexual prowess, Julia is resigned to the suffocating reality of her inabi lity to purge the trauma of the
50 Return of the Gods Sacrifice, and Return to Myth As ilol Catalina functions as mediator between the gods and the Tzotzil people Her i ntermediary role is most palpable after she excavates and revives stone idols that hidden in a cave that she visited during her childhood (186) catalyzes return to the c ave she no longer feels needed by Domingo, whom Pedro is teaching the ways of manhood, punishment for her sterility. Moreover Catalina concludes that the gods are angry because s he neglected them since her original discovery of the stone idols as a child; to appease their anger and remedy the sin of her neglect, she retraces her own past, sets up an altar for them in the cave and leads the Tzotzils to bring the gods offerings and adoration. In the cave, then, Catalina become s the voice of the gods consequentially, she receives the attention and respect from the Tzotzils that she no longer receives from her husband and son. cave typifies Gordon as that the by re surrecti n g the stone idols in the cave, Catalina resurrects the indigenous culture overshadowed by the Conques t (Gordon, xvi). As ilol Catalina becomes the public voice of the gods and warns the Tzotzils of an impending peril; in this s primordial failure to properly interpret that Catalina articulate s becomes manifest when Padre Manuel destroys her idols for the
51 first time. To deter an uprising, the Caxln authori and temporarily imprison Catalina and her female followers in Ciudad Real When the women are released from jail and return to Chamula, Catalina reassumes her role as ilol. When Padre Manuel returns to Chamula and a ttempts to she orders the Tzotzils to kill him. The Tzotzils view Padre Manuel as the earthly manifestation of the Caxln (Christian) God; believing she has conquered the Caxln God in her sanctuary, Catalina ush ers the Tzotzils to the abandoned church of San Juan to appropriate it as their own and to crucify Domingo. This grotesque scene of the novel brings to the fore the racial and sexual violence that haunts Chamula and Ciudad Real; this violence stems from the original sin of the many characters. Unlike Marcela, a victimized mother (she does not choose motherhood), Catalina is a mother that victimizes the son she willing ly adopted. Th rough this brutally violent act, Catalina aims to crush the power of the Caxlans and cleanse the novel of its original sin [Domingo] has been marked by the indelible cipher of the only law that governs the After Catalina ushers the crucifixion of Domingo in the abandoned church of San Juan, the Tzotzils commence their uprising in Ciudad Real; to their dismay, they find that their sacri fice of Domingo has not rendered them immune to death. They ultimately retreat from Ciudad Real, and Leonardo reigns supreme in Chamula. He appropriates
52 the Ciudad Real army to defeat the Tzotzils during the uprising) is adored by the Tzotzils. Just as in the Chamula creation myth, the imperfect patriarchal order prevails, and is reinstituted through the Military Directives, a perverse echo of the Eucharist. Leonardo thus away so as to not see it. .Catalina joined with the other women to carry out the lowliest signifier of the violation, is futile. At the end of the novel, Catalina retreats inward like Marcela and becomes mute; Marcela cannot even look at Catalina, whose existence is only a reminder of the trauma Marcela herself endured. The narration transitions to Idoli console Idolina, who hears the voices of the dead in her delirium, Teresa tells a myth of a great ilol in Chamula who once lived. The lords of Ciudad Real divest the ilol of her power and mandate that her name be erased from memory signifying the repression of racial and sexual anxieties, represented through the outlawing of the name of a Tzotzil woman. The Book of Lamentations difference through a convoluted narrat ive framework that involves Mexican history, myth, and biblical and Christian liturgical allusions. The Chamula creation myth that
53 opens the novel sets up the reader to expect a power struggle between the Caxlans and the Tzotzils, and the interpolation of the Tenebrae girl, materializes both racial and sexual violence and also introduces the issue of legitimacy that pervades the novel patriarch, to his manipulation of Church and civic leaders and ultimate success as the tyrannical quasi priest who appropriat pushes the Tzotzils into submission and perverse adoration of his political power). females of the novel, marking them as inheritors of this trauma. Their attempts to purge sins of the conquistadors ) in various ways (Catalina attempts to create her own version of the Christian salvation story and thereby purge the novel of the religion imposed on the Indians by the conquistadors Idolina inflicts her body with paralysis to enact the demise of Isabel and L El Chingn by striving to sexually dominate Leonardo). The particular dramas surrounding Isabel and Julia mark the anxiety surrounding female sexual desire, which results in illicit marriages narrative to the values expected of a lady of Ciudad Real. The end of the novel does not end with a resolution of the violent energies that attempt to purge the trauma
54 signifies the persistence of the transgenerational ghost (as though the deceased of the novel take residence in her body) and proper legitimacy is not restored through her. ilol (an avatar of Catalina) as e eventually silenced; a whole (which also begins with a mythic voice), igniting perhaps a small flame of who has listeners (Idolina and us as readers) who can at least acknowledge the trauma that has been repressed.
55 Conclusion When placed alongside Wuthering Heights and The Book of Lamentations bring to the fore racial and sexual anxieties that plague the seemingly disparate worlds of Victorian England and a conflated colonial/twentieth century Mexico. The novels contain many parallel figures, such and Heathcliff and Leonardo, two men of unknown origins who gain power through unknown means, as well as female figures such as Cathy and Idolina who render their own bodies as instruments to get revenge on their oppressors. With uncannily similar names, Isabella Linton and Isabel Zebada signify femal e sexual desire and excess in spite of their status as ladies of Thrushcross Grange and Ciudad Real, respectively. Nelly, who takes care of Cathy and later Catherine, and Teresa, who takes care of Idolina, struggle for linguistic control of the narratives perhaps they are rewrites of the maids of early Gothic fiction, who are portrayed as nave, superstitious, and incapable of rational thought. In both novels, repression manifests itself through haunting. In Wuthering Heights ghost appears to Lockwood early in the novel, marking his fear of the female other, and Cathy and Heathcliff literally become ghosts at the end of the novel, as though the anxieties their union evokes regarding racial, sexual, and class boundaries are dissolved and exiled to the moors. In The Book of Lamentations haunting manifests beginning of the novel, and particularly through their reflections of the La Malinche who signifies the racial o ther, sexual deviancy, and revenge. Julia and Catalina, two of the most powerful female figures in The Book of Lamentations are ultimately silenced and even mythologized (Julia is not recognized for her intellect but is reduced to the identity
56 of La Alaza na and Catalina is the ilol who fails to purge her people of the religion imposed on them by the conquistadors and her name becomes outlawed). A plethora of material remains for exploration in regard to both novels. I would like to dissect the drama of t he Tzotzil world, focusing on how Catalina struggles for control in opposition to her husband, Pedro, as well as in opposition to the Caxlans. I myth. Idolina similarly struggles to produce coherent language when she writes letters to the governor, trying to frame Leonardo as in league with Fernando Ulloa (the land reformer), her penman ship is nearly illegible, marking her failure to thwart the plans of her stepfather, the illegitimate patriarch. I would also like to compare constructions of motherhood in Wuthering Heights and in The Book of Lamentations Cathy dies after giving birth to Catherine; directly preceding this scene, Cathy laments her body, which she death. Cathy, then, would be lamenting her pregnant bo dy much like Marcela detaches herself from her pregnancy. It is intriguing that two women writers who lived nearly a century apart one in England, one in Mexico construct novels with many concordant themes. Castellanos likely read Wuthering Heights and p her own novel. Comparing the two novels provides a broader understanding of the Gothic
57 as not a genre relegated to the past, but one that persists as a literary space where writers can express anxieties and fears that haunt multiple societies, cultures, and time periods.
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