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ERIC Number: EJ910358
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2133
Dispelling Purity Myths and Debunking Hygienic Discourse in Roberto Arlt's "El jorobadito"
Garrett, Victoria Lynn
Hispania, v93 n2 p187-197 Jun 2010
This article reads Roberto Arlt's short story "El jorobadito" as a direct and critical response to hygienic discourse in the first decades of the twentieth century in Argentina. Hygienic discourse served as a basis for an exclusionary social model that profoundly affected politics and the organization of the social body. It sought to define threats to society for easy identification and elimination. "El jorobadito" attacks this model by showing that the distinction between the "healthy" and "unhealthy" parts of the social body is only an illusory, imaginary construct. Instead of maintaining the idea that key differences can be clearly identified, which allows the imposition of boundaries between acceptable and problematic subjects, "El jorobadito" posits that no such differences--and consequently, no boundaries--can be maintained between subjects. This story suggests that the exclusionary model that relies on distinct binaries is inoperable because all members of society--regardless of their social status--are equally degenerate. Consequently, the fear of contagion or hereditary traits, along with all the hygienic metaphors disseminated by hygienists and the cultural elite, are rendered useless and ineffective when this story dispels the myth of purity upon which they rely. (Contains 13 notes.)
American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Inc. 900 Ladd Road, Walled Lake, MI 48390. Tel: 248-960-2180; Fax: 248-960-9570; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Argentina