In his celebrated 2007 novel El mundo, Juan José Millás tells the story of the development of Juanjo, a simulacrum of himself, and describes a series of negative developments that the protagonist faces in his childhood. While much has been written about Millás and the “testimonial realism” of his literary generation, little has been written about the psychological factors that influence his characters. In this paper I analyze Juanjo's development as understood from the gradation of guilt to shame, depression, and later suicidal thoughts. Because Juanjo is not able to find an appropriate mechanism of release for his guilt, he spirals into an ever-increasing psychological distress. Thus, his actions do not become an escape per se from the oppressive forces in Spain; but rather, they are mechanisms of delay caused by the subconscious effects of living under Franco's Spain during the 1950s.
Mike Wilson-Reginato's first novel El púgil, published in 2007, mixes intertextual references to music, film, and literature to craft a space for the posthuman identity. The two protagonists of El púgil—Art and his olive-green refrigerator, Hal—combine in a new cyborg-like formation. Unlike the cyborg envisioned by Donna Haraway in “A Cyborg Manifesto,” the mechanical-biological union never takes place at the corporeal level, but their union occurs in a psychological dimension within Art's hallucination. To describe the union of Art and Hal, I use Jacques Lacan's concept of the mirror stage to explain Art's adoption of a perceived superior identity and Jean Baudrillard's study of simulacra to show how this adopted identity is an imagined simulacrum. Thus, the combined image of the two characters creates a cyborg identity that erases the distance between man and machine.
College and Department
Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Icleanu, Constantin Cristian, "The Functions of Guilt and Shame in Juan José Millás' El mundo and My Olive-Green Fridge and I: The Posthuman Identity in El púgil" (2011). Theses and Dissertations. 2476.
El mundo, Juan José Millás, El púgil, Mike Wilson, Baudrillard, Lacan, guilt, shame, identity, cyborg, posthuman, simulacrum