“Spanish Roulette” by Ed Vega is the short story of a young, ‘spic’ poet named Sixto whose sister has recently been raped by a local gang member and dealer. Sixto vows revenge, loading his revolver but struggling greatly with the idea, and in a way he snaps, leaving thought and reason behind in favor of drastic action. This abandonment of caution seems to be story’s central idea, as with every generation, new and certain afflictions that must be acted upon are wreaked upon humanity. Thought, poetry, and community become obsolete in light of real disaster. All in all, we cannot help but to avenge our sufferings because violence will always win out over philosophy. Near the end, after Sixto has calmed down and decided to take his time exacting vengeance on his sister’s tormentor, his composure suddenly shatters and he rushes to execute his ordained undertaking, signaling the victory of his own aggression.
The use of the term "loss" in the text is particularly important. The analysis of the homoerotic relations between the two men, in the story (The brother and the rapist) is particularly interesting, especially if we consider the raped sister as being located at the center of a triangle, uniting or dividing the two men in a sort of power/rivalry contest. A later manifestation of this theory, according to Paul Hammond in his book Love Between Men in English Literature is the idea of the erotic triangle or the Oedipal triangle. The males usually rival each other for the female's affection, when in reality, the female is simply an object used to disguise the latent or forbidden sexual feelings between the men. These men cannot openly express their erotic feelings, so a fierce Oedipal competition develops.
He Becomes Deeply and Famously Drunk:
Much like “Spanish Roulette,” Brady Udall’s “He Becomes Deeply and Famously Drunk” deals with the concept of revenge. Archie, the tale’s focal character, is a handsome, loud, and blunt seventeen year old who has spent much of his recent life working, at his mother’s earnest request, on what used to be his father’s ranch in Arizona. He appears as a bit of a delinquent, having been so since his father’s death at the age of five. Archie yearns deeply to exact vengeance upon his father’s old friend, Calfred Pulsipher, who killed him in a drunken stupor. Most of the story is spent helping the reader identify with Archie- his every day, his companions, and his every thought- so that when he does eventually go after Calfred, the reader understands what he goes through when he, indeed, cannot kill him. Archie had held pain inside of him from a very young age, and when he discovers his soon-to-be victim is nothing more than a helpless old geezer he is able to let go of his anger and finally revel in his father’s beautiful legacy. Revenge is not the best answer, for another justice has been at work in this story: God's Justice or the justice of fate that we will all face one day: that of growing old, weak, and ultimately faced by death and eternal redemption.
Of Revenge:a short declaration written by Francis Bacon that explores the injustices and self-destructions of revenge and points out the glories and overcoming nature of forgiveness. He asserts that revenge benefits no man. It ‘putteth’ the law out of office and ‘keeps (a man’s) own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well.’ Essentially, it undermines law by ensuring the second committal of a crime and preserves hatred in a man, a sensation that only manages to worsen tears. More righteous men declare their vengeance before they exact it, in hopes that their enemy might realize their wrong and learn from it, while dishonorable offenses lie inside those who execute revenge ‘like the arrow that flieth in the dark.’ Interestingly, Bacon believes that no man does evil for it’s own sake, but rather to profit from it, and those that do, regardless of intention will be gravely punished in life or after.
For each texte, we looked at the different types of justice at play here:
1) Personal Justice/revenge - How it is played out? and carried out? (the value of the gun)
2) Official Justice/ society/penitentiary - What type of justice is played out? by whom? against whom?
3) God's justice/fate/life - How life turns out, to make us all losers in front of a larger system of justice: death/fate/old age...
I think students really liked this class..