JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 302
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violence is symptomatic of a persistent, traumatic repression. Further,
he criticizes the republicans, whose official ideology cannot come to
terms with festering class ressentiment, the regression to extreme indi-
vidualism, or the psychological roots of a will-to-power that closely
resemble the fascist tendencies in Italy and Germany supportive of
It is Jacinto who embodies both this resentment and will-to-power in
The Devil's Backbone. To say that the film walks a fine line between
psychological exploration and sympathy with a brutal, often violent, and
remorseless character is not to say that it endorses a fascist mentality.
Jacinto, the orphan par excellence, whose "I don't need anyone" sums up
his anger at his parent's and surrogate parent's abandonment of him, as
well as his feeling of stigma and exclusion from the community, turns to
hypermasculinity to redefine himself and assert an invulnerability against
circumstance.14 He uses physical threats, verbal intimidation, and overt
violence to control others. This escalates when he finds out that Carmen,
despite her republican politics, is ashamed of fucking him because, with
his history as an orphan, he doesn't fit into the educated, cultured milieu
to which she belongs:
(After they both come, Jacinto tries to kiss Carmen but she won 't let him).
Carmen. This is the last time.
Jacinto. The last time-same old story. (Goes to her dresser, makes a
noise). Scared the old man will hear?
Carmen. I've never been scared. I'm ashamed.
Jacinto. You're ashamed of me. Not him. He's a gentleman. What a pity
that's not enough. You need a hard cock as well. And your husband and
the doctor-tough luck. The old man looks at you with love. He did that
even when your husband was alive. I was seventeen. By then, they took
care of the poetry and I of the flesh.
Jacinto's inferior class and generational position have allowed Carmen to
sexually exploit him, while preserving the romanticized image of herself
that Dr. Casares cultivates. Dr. Casares-who blatantly ignores Jacinto's
sexual liaison with Carmen and treats him with condescension, and who,
dismissing the irrational, cannot "see" the orphanage's ghost and is
therefore blind to the dangers that Jacinto's rage poses to the boys-bears
a burden of responsibility, with Carmen, for the future deaths of many
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/m1/48/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .