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More than a Lesbian Novel Essay

Anna Maria Moix is a Spanish novelist, journalist, essay writer, poet and a translator. “Julia” is her first novel which is an autobiographical novel. Many characters and incidents from this novel are influenced by her life. The novel “Julia” is a very beautiful and thought provoking novel by Moix. It is called as a lesbian novel. According to some critics, in Julia, the pedagogical scene of seduction is subverted by making it lesbian scene. Julia’s relationship with her teachers like Senorita Mabel and especially Eva is shown as lesbian type of relationship. While some critics oppose it by putting forward the opposite opinion.

According to them the relationship between Eva and Julia is much more than a lesbian one. “The title character in this novel embarks on a relationship with Eva, her literature teacher. Though the novel suggests a sexual dimension to the relationship, it never makes the sexual dynamics patently clear, and Julia never becomes fully aware of her sexuality. For her, Eva represents mother, friend, and lover. ” [1] Thus critically it is described as a lesbian novel. It is because of the inclination of the female protagonist towards Eva and some other women. Lesbian concept is not a new concept for the European writers.

Virginia Woolf, Jeanette Winterson and other many writers have written on lesbian theory. Winterson “Written on Body” in this case is such an unusual novel in which the readers never realize whether the narrator on whom the entire story is woven is male or female character. It might be perhaps because the female authors could not explain the lesbian theories openly due to the social constraints. Hence that she has indirectly put the theory of lesbianism Julia was published after a great scrutiny because writing on lesbianism or homosexuality was a taboo in the society.

Now on such background the question arises whether the novel “Julia” is really lesbian or it is about something more. As per my observation, though it has the references of obsessive and intense relationship of the protagonist Julia with her literature professor, it cannot be concluded that it is entirely a lesbian novel. In Julia Anna Moix has unfolded the gloomy and devastated life of the protagonist right from her tender age to entire life. The author has given more focus on the mental and psychosomatic condition of the protagonist Julia which appeals more than her lesbian tendency.

According to Katharina Wilson “it is a story of a “self destructive adolescent psyche of a teenager. ”” She states, “Her first novel Julia (1970) though narrated in the third person is intensely subjective and intimate, drawing the reader immediately into the inner monologues of a tormented and self destructive adolescent psyche. ” Katharina Wilson also writes, “In exploring the dark world of divided self, obsessed by a lost double from the past (the sixteen years old Julia), Moix also delicately alludes to the problem of sexual identity as it takes shape in the form of unconscious lesbianism.

”[2] Though Julia was closely attached with many women in her life she is not entitled lesbian. The circumstance in which Julia grows has to be taken into account. These circumstances compel her to attract towards women. She loves women not out of any attraction but because she hates men. Her experience about the men was very sickening. At the very tender age of six she was raped by Victor who was their family friend. And this was the reason that the repugnance for men developed in her mind and a strong and striking need for a female grew in her mind.

In short Moix is persistent about explaining the inner mind of Julia. “Julia,” the novel published in 1970, describes about typical teenager young college girl. Julia, who is in love with her literature professor Eva and decides to commit suicide out of the nervous breakdown when she comes to know that she cannot keep romantic relationship with her female partner due to social bondage and threats,. Eva for Julia is more than just a sexual partner. For her she is like a mother and in her loneliness she just wants Eva to be with her. “She only wanted to be close to Eva. She wanted her presence and nothing else. ” [3]

The story starts with the protagonist mental condition when she is there in the hospital lonely and totally broken hearted. Here the author has vividly depicted each and every facets of the complex mind of the protagonist. Why she has been called as a lesbian, just because she has intense love in her mind for a female figure? This is not the only reason. The subterranean “raison d’etre” is that she wants a female figure under whose shelter she can be safe and secure. She cannot find the security and safety in the arms of any man, because for her man is just like a wolf who has crunched into her body as well as mind.

Her childhood was a like a nightmare for her because of the very unfortunate experience of the rape. This is the reason why Julia wanted to keep herself far away from the men. Her relationship with Eva is thus dignified by the author which according to her not unusual and wrong. Julia’s mother was never close to her and she wants to experience the real love of the mother and for that she has chosen Eva, who is her mother in her imaginations “Eva is for Julia a mother, a sister and a friend. There is an attempt to ‘explain away’ lesbianism not as desiring women, but as fear of men. ” [3]

Here I would like to refer the story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Anderson, “The Little Match Girl,” who was shivering and almost dead because of hunger and cold. At that time for getting herself warm she lit a stick from her matchbox and the small and tiny light of the little stick gives her hundreds of beautiful dreams from which she doesn’t want to come out. Eva’s presence for Julia is like a warm in the deadly winter. Eva is like an Oasis in the deserted life of Julia. But Eva’s presence is nothing but a hallucination. Eva is like a lighthouse for the ship of Julia’s life.

When she realizes that this lighthouse is collapsed she cannot survive herself and then she decides to end her life. “Over a course of a sleepless night the 20-year-old Julia recollects instances from her past as she lies in a hospital bed following a suicide attempt. Her intense physical aversion to men and recurrent obsession with a series of strong female figures would seem to stem from traumatic childhood experiences, including her rape at the age of 6 by a family friend and the emotional deprivation felt in the relationship with her mother.

” [4] From Julia the author brings forward her opinion that the lesbians are not women who love women but who hate men. Rather than calling this novel as a lesbian novel we can say that it is the novel depicts the rebellious attitude of the women who have been for years and years tormented by the patriarchal and male dominated society. This novel is also called a novel of relationship. Rather the theme of relationship constantly remains dominant rather than the lesbianism. Moix reveals the different ridges of relationship in it.

The author has outspread the different types of relationships of the protagonist right from her childhood, her relationship with her family members, the deteriorated relationship between her and her mother, the death of her beloved brother Rafael, her relationship with her older brother Ernesto, Every where we find the blemished relationship. In the crowd of the people the Julia seems to be alone and isolated. The failure in maintaining the relationship can cause the mental and psychological damage of the person.

Anna Moix tries to show the complexities of the relationship as well as the lack of harmony among all the characters. The novel represents such society where the family system is collapsed. This novel is the symbol of the society which has lost the family values and morality. The characters are shown self centered and no one seems to bother about the rest of the members of the society. Relationship is lacking with every character. Julia is searching for the love in the female figures. She has to search it from the outside world because she is not finding it in her family members.

The relationship of Julia with her mother which ought to be very close, and there aught to be a natural attachment and affection between mother and daughter is in reality very stained. Her mother is shown as a self centered who never tries to know what exactly her daughter expects, and what exactly her responsibility towards her daughter. We strongly feel it when we read the scene of rape done on Julia by the Victor. At that time she needs her Mama’s tender touch and her love and solace but she was abdicated ruthlessly by her mother. “She would escape from Victor and run to mama, who was talking and laughing nonstop, ignoring her.

Little Julia would tap her on the arms, and Mama would ask: Do you want a coke? No. And she would keep on touching Mama until, irritated, she would yell at her or slap her, and little Julia burst into tears. Aurelia – Mama called – put her to bed, she is unbearable. ” [5]She needs love, pampering from her mother which is her Psychological and quite natural need. But this basic need is also never fulfilled by her mother. She knows that she is a big burden for her mother and this feeling creates more and more insecurity in her mind. This pampering she is searching in another woman.

In Julia the author also focuses on the growing materialism in the society. Everybody is involved in gaining the worldly pleasure. Everybody is careless and is not in position to think of the other. Julia’s brother is a homosexual. There is total miscommunication between the relationships of Julia’s parents. Everybody has chosen their own path life in which they don’t want to involve other family members. Under the roof of one house they are living like strangers. They don’t want to share their happiness, their sorrow with the others. Why life has become so difficult for the protagonist? Why does she want to escape from her present?

Why can’t she accept the present bravely? Why does she prefer to stay in her past life? These are very important questions arise while the reading of the novel. Julia is not a novel which just propounds the theory of lesbianism but it is the psychological novel which focuses on the mental condition of the protagonist. The protagonist is caught by the split personality. Young Julia is not ready to accept the fact of her being young and she wants to be in the past. The incident of rape has been carved on her mind so intensely that she prefers to live the life of listlessness and detachment. She prefers to live an isolated life.

“As her remembrances peel away the layers of her past, she reveals chilling details of a life filled with alienation and unhappiness. [6] This is the reason why she cannot face the relationship with the opposite sex. The horror experience becomes her inability to enter into the relationship with opposite sex. When Carol kisses her she feels it as a nightmare and it reminds r the incident of her violent rape. “a beach, rocks, a sea urchin, the paddle boat floating on the sea. ” (Page 209, Julia) There is a constant conflict in her mind, the conflict of two different personalities, Julia and Julita.

Julita is her past which is being more and more dominated. “Her schizophrenic experience eventually leads to an unsuccessful suicide attempt. According to German Bleiberg “The novel is relentless psychological whodunit, narrated as the interior monologue of the disturbed and intermittently suicidal young protagonist. ” [7] The novel consists of the series of memory of Julia’s life right from her childhood to the present day. “These memories carry from her childhood to her present traumatic psychological stagnation. ” [8] Julia has locked herself in deep pains. Her pains are like a web which the protagonist fails to break.

Her story is necessarily thought from psychological point of view. When we start thinking from that perception we realize that this is not just a lesbian novel. It is a deep and thorough study of human psyche. And when we change the angle of our thoughts and starts thinking from the point of view of the protagonist, we start feeling sympathetic about the protagonist. The entire novel seems to be haunted by a weird silence. A voiceless ness is spread around the protagonist. She is completely fed up of all types of relationships and the people that she wants to stay alone. She rather feels safe in her loneliness.

That is why when she arrives in the city she feels as if she is captured in the cage. “The noise, continuous movement of cars and buses, and the sight of so many people in the streets made her feel dizzy. ” [9] Julia was blamed by the other school children for being silent and for not mixing with anybody. “She found herself forced to stay locked up in the classroom for four hours in the morning and three in the afternoon, sitting behind a desk, among twenty other girls. She didn’t talk to anybody. If they asked her something, she answered with a fewest possible words. After a week at School, they called her “the girl who doesn’t talk.

”[10] Thus apparently it seems a lesbian novel but if we consider the other factors of this novel we realize that the story has a depth and it wants to tell us something else and lesbianism is just one of the parts of the novel. Thus this novel focuses many factors such as a world of chaos and anarchy, the broken frame of the family structure, the voiceless ness, materialism and self centered attitude of the modern society, lack of communication between the human beings, the physical and psychological exploitation of the women by the society and the spoiled human relationships.

This novel also reveals the psychological problems which arise due to the loneliness insecurity and individualism. Being a typical feminist novel it throws the light on various above factors which are more dominating than the lesbian theme. Sources: [1] (Page 4, Spanish Literature, glbtq literature, http://www. glbtq. com/literature/spanish_lit,4. html) [2] (Page 853, “An Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers,” by Katharina M. Wilson, Published by Tailor & Francis)

[3] (Page 4, “Julia,” Anna Moix, Sandra Kingery , published by University of Nebraska Press, 2004) [3] (Page 287, “Who’s who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History”, By Robert Aldrich, Garry, Published by Routledge, 2001) [4] (Page 199, “A New History of Spanish Writing by Christopher Perriam”, published by Oxford University Press. ) [5](Page 41, Julia, Written by Anna Moix, translated by Sandra Kingery, University of Nebraska Press, 2004) [6](Page 140, “Dangerous Virtues”, By Ana Maria Moix, Margaret E. W. Jones, published by University of Nebraska Press, 1997) [7]

(Page1107, “L-Z”, by German Bleiberg, published by Greenwood Publishing Group. ) [8] (Page 37, “Queer Transitions in Contemporary Spanish Culture,” By Gema Perez-Sanchez, published by Suny Press. ) [9] (Page93, “Julia” Written by Anna Moix, translated by Sandra Kingery, University of Nebraska Press, 2004) [10] (Page93, “Julia” Written by Anna Moix, translated by Sandra Kingery, University of Nebraska Press, 2004)


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