JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 300
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that it is a cure-all for numerous ailments; when he drinks it himself,
presumably as a cure for his own impotence; and when he later returns as
a ghost to help the children survive? "Nobody's children" or the devil's
backbone reads as a metaphor for those attempts to write a history, such
as the villagers do through religion, that could confer meaning upon what
look like horribly random, meaningless events. It also exposes the
hypocrisy and unacknowledged irrationality of those who, like Dr.
Casares, profess a rational, secular worldview.
Figure 2: The Devil's Backbone
'Nobody's children' also refers to the orphaned children who are the
subjects of this imagined history. They are the doubly traumatized: once
by virtue of the loss of or abandonment by their parents, that "crise
d'identite" that Robert Jay Lifton calls the "broken connection," an
experience of one's own psychic death in the too-early or too-prolonged
separation from the parent, and once by virtue of the violence, the "death
equivalent," that does-or nearly does-kill many of them at the orphan-
age (see Lifton, Broken). These children are doubly dispossessed: oftheir
role within a family unit, left to the care of (albeit kindly) strangers, and
as "nobody's children," without a place in the national or social order,
unwanted, and, as the film makes clear, all-too-easily forgotten were they
to die or be in danger of dying. They also make an unlikely point of view
for a narrative that revisits the Spanish Civil War. These boys are
Here’s what’s next.
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Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition (U.S.). JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004, periodical, 2004; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28644/m1/46/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .