Theme Betrayal On “Flowering Judas” Essay

1776 words - 7 pages

Judas Iscariot, the disciple, hanged himself from a tree after betraying Jesus Christ and giving him a kiss. The tree in which Judas hanged himself is known as “Judas Tree,” mainly found in Southern Europe and Western Asia. In the short story “Flowering Judas” written by Katherine Anne Porter the title is related to this religious event of betrayal, murder, and denial. The two main characters in this short story are Braggioni and Laura. Braggioni is a cruel, powerful leader of Marxist revolutionaries in and around Mexico City. Laura is a beautiful American women, age 22, who took up residence in Mexico. Braggioni, Braggioni’s wife, and Eugenio also perform certain actions that make them betrayers, however Laura is Judas the betrayer in “Flowering Judas.”
Starting off, Laura betrays her students who she teaches. The students in her school love her and are enthusiastic about learning from her teaching. “Children [write] on the blackboard, ‘we lov ar ticher’” (Porter 1695). But Laura does not put all her commitment and passion to her teaching. As stated by Sister Mary Bride, “Even though she was a teacher, she had no love for the little children who crowded around her each morning with fervent greetings and festooned her desk with flowers. They ‘remain strangers to her’” (129). A teacher is supposed to love her children, to be part of them, and to focus in her children. With the lack of eagerness and dedication to accomplish her activities as a teacher, she is making less of herself and betraying her students.
Additionally, a young man appears in Laura’s life that sings outside her bedroom window, writes poems to her, and follows her around town to demonstrate his passionate love for her. Porter states, “She tells herself that throwing the flower was a mistake, for she is twenty two years old and knows better” (1696). As stated by Peter G. Christensen, “the flower that she flirtatiously throws at a young admirer had been used as evidence of her tampering with men’s emotions” (254). Laura is only misleading him and expresses the wrong intentions by throwing a flower to him. Also, a “Captain who had been a soldier in Zapata” also desires the love of Laura, even though it defeats his masculine figure as a soldier. But Laura refuses to unlock her heart to this brave and daring soldier. Laura blocks everything and anything that attempts to reach for her heart. Sister Mary Bride states, “Laura does not merely reject illicit love; she rejects all love. She rejects life. She is the essence of negation” (129).
Continuing, Laura betrays love in her life by rejecting all men who intend to reach for her heart. “But [Laura] cannot love them back. [Laura] is loved and desired by men, but can feel nothing for them” (Gottfried 139). Laura pictures a “revolutionist would be lean, animated by heroic faith, a vessel of abstract virtues” (Porter 1692). Laura pictures a revolutionist as a Christ figure. The total opposite of what Laura thinks about Braggioni,...

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