Analysis On The Story "Flowering Judas" By Katherine Anne Porter

695 words - 3 pages

Laura's BetrayalThe first paragraph of this story establishes the tension that is developed in the remainder of the story. It reveals Laura's apparent dedication and self-sacrifice in contrast to Braggioni's exploitation. It is important to notice the off-putting description of Braggioni, as well as the way that Laura avoids situations with him, staying away from home as late as she can and then unwillingly enduring his presence. This tension between two ways of life is developed throughout "Flowering Judas." Gradually we recognize Laura as a character whose spiritual betrayal is far more profound than the revolutionary leader's corruption.Braggioni's name suggests his nature; He "bulges marvelously in his expensive garments," his mouth "opens round and yearns sideways," he "swells with ominous ripeness," and his ammunition belt is buckled "cruelly around his gasping middle." Braggioni appears to have betrayed the ideals of the movement he leads through his love ...view middle of the document...

His ability to love begins with himself and oozes over to those who he comes into contact with.Laura, the repressed, "gringita," has betrayed Eugenio. She did this first by refusing his offer of love and then by delivering drugs to him that he uses to commit suicide. She has betrayed the children she teaches, even though she tries to love and take pleasure in them, they "remain strangers to her." More importantly, perhaps, she betrays herself by rejecting "knowledge and kinship in one monotonous word. No. No. No," and by disguising her sexual coldness as earnest revolutionary idealism. Laura is afraid and unable to live life; she is "not at home in the world." It finally makes her, a "cannibal" of others, and a "murderer" of herself. Laura's revolutionary activity is unfulfilling. She takes messages to and from people living in dark alleys, attends fruitless union meetings, and ferries food, cigarettes, and narcotics to sad, imprisoned men. She also "borrows money from the Roumanian agitator to give to his bitter enemy the Polish agitator." When she eats the "warm, bleeding flowers" of the Judas tree in her nightmare vision, she symbolically participates in an act of betrayal. Laura lives as if she is dead. Her ideals, however, remain intact, though she must sometimes struggle to maintain them. Her own taste requires fine handmade lace, a revolutionary heresy. She is still significantly engaged by the faith of her childhood. Although she is still caught between her revolutionary sympathies and the sympathies of her own past. She finds the experience visiting the church "no good" and ends it by merely examining the tinseled altar and its presiding "male saint, whose lace-trimmed drawers hang limply around his ankles." Her hand made necklace is important to her because of the fact that it was not made in a factory, how very ironic because she is assisting in a Marxist revolution.The story does not provide a simple ending. It is only in Laura's dream at the end of the story, a dream brought on by her recognition that by betraying Eugenio, she has betrayed herself. That she has a fear of love and of life. She awakes trembling at the sound of her own voice, "No!," and is afraid to sleep again. "No" is the end of the story; we do not know if Laura's realization will save her from what she has become.

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