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Laura’s Betrayal - Flowering Judas

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Essay title: Laura’s Betrayal - Flowering Judas

Laura’s Betrayal

The 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 of luxury and his indifference to his fellow revolutionaries. He is so completely savaged by his portrayal that it is difficult to notice how much importance he has in the movement and his necessary emphasis on the revolution as a whole over mere individual member. The very traits which have led to his insolence are vanity, arrogance, self-love, malice, cleverness, love of pleasure, and "hardness of heart.” They are also what has made him a "skilled revolutionist." He is, on the other hand, a man capable of certain sorts of love. He can sacrifice himself and accept sacrifice from others. 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.

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