JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 303
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children, and for the crippling injuries ofthose who survive. As adherents
of republican principles and as "parental" figures for the boys (Spain),
they prove themselves incapable of addressing and ameliorating class
conflict. Through Carmen, the film explores the "sexiness" of the male
machismo underlying fascism, as she seduces and allows herself to be
seduced by Jacinto. Both she and Dr. Casares exacerbate and heighten
class hatred, fueling the energies of war.
Jacinto channels his anger at this class and generational subordina-
tion into a ritual ofmale sexual domination and female submission played
out between the two of them. Yet, in other arenas, Carmen claims to know
Jacinto better than he himself does; she tells him that "of all the orphans
you were always the saddest. The lost one. A prince without a kingdom
... the only one who was really alone." In giving him this version of
himself, emphasizing his isolation, she exacerbates his grounds for shame
and rage. An "other" is writing him-his surrogate mother, in fact, for
whom he feels affection, if not love. Carmen aligns the effects ofJacinto's
psychological history of deprivation and exclusion with a political
ideology "other" than the one held by the republican community of which
she and he (ostensibly) are a part. It is an ideology associated with Spanish
nationalism, as her focus on a powerful but solitary ruler, dispossessed of
a throne ("a prince without a kingdom"), and acting alone, makes clear.
To spite Carmen's superior knowingness, her claim to have "captured"
him, Jacinto is determined to show herjust how lonely he is willing to be,
how little he will need anyone or their knowledge of him-measured as
the strength of his anger to destroy her, the others, and even the buildings
there completely. Carmen's reading of Jacinto's character turns into a
self-fulfilling prophecy at the very least and grounds for vengeance at
worst, nurturing Jacinto's latent fascism. She may be an astute judge, but
she also "fixes" Jacinto into a role that not only feels imprisoning but is
deadly for himself and others. His persona reflects how the ongoing
struggle against perceived powerlessness and isolation can be fought by
embracing an extreme individualism and will-to-power over others.
In exploring what is difficult to acknowledge about a traumatic civil
war, The Devil's Backbone also looks at how Jacinto's fascist behavior
reproduces itself in the actions of his former targets or victims. This is true
for both Jaim6 and for the band of boys who ultimately take revenge upon
Jacinto for the murder of Santi and the explosion that kills so many more.
As a spectator of Jacinto's murder of Santi, Jaim6 keeps silent to avert a
similar fate, knowing what Jacinto is capable of. "I was a coward," he
admits later, "I was always afraid of Jacinto." Jaim6 lives not only with
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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/m1/49/: accessed February 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .