Water Imagery in the Works of Eudora Welty, Teresa de la Parra, Kate Chopin, and María Luisa Bombal
“’The pouring-down rain, the pouring down rain’ –was that what she was saying over and over, like a song?”.
Eudora Welty, “A Piece of News”
“ Usually I prefer to stay at the pool because there the river holds a serene and mysterious charm for me”.
(Por regla general yo prefiero quedarme en la toma, porque es alla en donde el rio tiene para mi aquel encanto sereno y misterioso).
Teresa de la Parra, Iphigenia (The Diary of a Young Lady Who Wrote Because She Was Bored) (Ifigenia (Diario de una señorita que se escribó porque se fastidiaba))
“ The voice of the sea speaks to the soul”.
Kate Chopin, The Awakening
“ And like this, naked and golden, I dive into the water”
(Y asi, desnuda y dorada, me sumerjo en el estanque).
María Luisa Bombal, The Final Mist (La última niebla)
Water imagery occurs repeatedly in the works of Eudora Welty, Teresa de la Parra, Kate Chopin, and María Luisa Bombal suggesting that it is intimately connected with the inner worlds of the female protagonists in these stories. The storm dramatizes Ruby’s death fantasy in “A Piece of News” by Eudora Welty. The river provides a place for María Eugenia to express herself in Iphigenia (The Diary of a Young Lady Who Wrote Because She Was Bored) (Ifigenia (Diario de una senorita que se escribo porque se fastidiaba)) by Teresa de la Parra. The sea elicits Edna’s deepest desires in The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and the mist triumphs over the nameless narrator’s attempt to escape death in The Final Mist (La última niebla) by María Luisa Bombal.
According to Carl Gustav Jung, water is the commonest symbol for the unconscious (Jung 18). Jung and other psychoanalytic critics also recognize water as central for understanding the transforming processes of the life cycle, the most important of which, Jung identifies as the process of individuation, or the constant struggle to come to terms with inner images and outer events (Aniela Jaffé 79). Annis Pratt’s transformational journey puts Jung’s process of individuation into a feminist perspective while providing an important place for water, which in all of these stories functions as the green-world token, or “some ordinary phenomenon that suddenly takes on extraordinary portent” (139). The theories of Jung and Pratt aid in the discovery of the ways that water imagery, which signals the female protagonists’ engagement with the unconscious, facilitates their transformational journeys.
The unconscious is, in psychological terms, “the reality that transcends consciousness and appears as the spiritual background of the world” (Jaffé 14). However, Jung distinguishes between the “personal unconscious” and the “collective unconscious.” While the “personal unconscious” refers to the “relatively limited sphere of the repressed and forgotten” of a single person, the “collective unconscious”...