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ArribaAbajoThe Ghostly Lover: The Portrayal of the Animus in Tristana

Kay Engler

When Benito Pérez Galdós' Tristana first appeared in 1892, his fellow novelist and critic Emilia Pardo Bazán proclaimed Galdós' pathetic tale of a young girl's seduction and enslavement at the hands of a decadent don Juan and the ultimate failure of all her attempts at self-liberation and self-realization as the promise of a great novel never written. She chided Galdós for abandoning his theme (the moral slavery of women), for leading the reader astray through extraneous adventures (the affair with Horacio), and for failing to fulfill the promise of his central characters (a strong-willed, self-aware Tristana; an authentically evil, monstrous Don Lope). But Pardo Bazán correctly perceived that the essence of the novel was not Don Lope's seduction of Tristana, nor the love affair with Horacio, nor her incapacitating illness, nor her final marriage to Don Lope, but rather a woman's struggle for self-awareness and self-realization. In Doña Emilia's words: «El asunto interno de Tristana, asunto nuevo y muy humano, pero imperfectamente desarrollado, es el despertar del entendimiento y la conciencia de una mujer sublevada contra una sociedad que la condena a perpetua infamia y no le abre ningún camino honroso para ganarse la vida...»157

As an ardent feminist and a champion of the rights of women in her own society, Pardo Bazán saw Tristana's struggle for self-awareness, liberation and self-realization in sociological terms. The «awakening of consciousness» she speaks of is what contemporary feminists call «the raising of consciousness» to the realities of woman's position in society. Society and its institutions are to blame for Tristana's initial predicament and, it is implied, for her own personal failure at self-liberation. It seems clear that Pardo Bazán, in criticizing Galdós for abandoning his original intent and for not allowing Tristana to become an independent woman, is not really judging the novel on its own terms but is, in fact, criticizing Galdós for not having written the novel she herself would like to have written.

Clarín disagreed profoundly with Doña Emilia about the novel's value and purpose. He saw the novel, not as an account of a woman's frustrated attempt to free herself from moral slavery, but rather as «la representación bella de un destino gris atormentando un alma noble, bella, pero débil, de verdadera fuerza sólo para imaginar, para soñar, de muchas actitudes embrionarias, un alma como hay muchas en nuestro tiempo de medianías llenas de ideal y sin energía ni vocación seria, constante, definida»158. Tristana, for Clarín, is a prototypal heroine of the realist novel of systematic disillusionment, like her spiritual sisters Emma Bovary, Ana de Ozores, Isidora Rufete and so many others, vainly reaching toward the crystalline sphere of the ideal and fatefully pulled by their own weight into the ordinary, humdrum world of reality. In Clarín's view, Tristana's failure at self-realization results neither from societal restrictions nor authorial bad faith, but rather from the character's own weakness, her dreamy temperament and her own lack   —96→   of will to carry through to completion her embryonic dreams, to control and direct her fantasies into productive channels.

These two initial critical judgments outline the essential dimensions of Tristana's character and the nature of her struggle, but leave many important and intriguing unanswered questions and some apparently irreconcilable contradictions. What is the exact nature of Tristana's struggle? What is she really searching for? What is the true nature of her demand for liberation and independence? Is it, as Pardo Bazán suggests, merely sociological: freedom from woman's socially determined role of total dependence on men? Or is her search, as Clarín implies, at once more personal and more profoundly universal in nature: an almost metaphysical search for the Ideal? What precipitates Tristana's awakening to consciousness? What determines the nature and course of her efforts at self-determination? What explains the constant metamorphoses of her modes of self-expression, the apparent dissipation of her energy in the pursuit of a dozen dilettantish pursuits? What roles do Don Lope and Horacio play in the complication or resolution of Tristana's dilemma? Are they, as Pardo Bazán suggests, incidental to the central drama, serving merely to distract the reader's attention from the basic matters at hand, or are they, in fact, central to the understanding of Tristana's story? Why, finally, does Tristana fail? Can we reconcile Pardo Bazán's view of Tristana as a victim of her society, of circumstance, with Clarín's view of Tristana as a victim of her own weakness? Or must we ultimately decide in favor of one or the other view?

The key to understanding Tristana and the real nature of her struggle lies with the long-neglected figure of Horacio, the third member of the ill-fated triangle. Of the three principal characters in the novel, Horacio, in and of himself, is decidedly the least interesting. Pardo Bazán dismisses him as unimportant, declaring that Tristana's love affair with Horacio is «una intriga amorosa como otra cualquiera... que no tiene nada que ver con la novela iniciada en las primeras páginas del libro», and that, even more significantly, as a result «la lucha por la independencia ya queda relegada a último término: puede decirse que suprimida»159. Yet, somehow, one feels that Pardo Bazán's dismissal of Horacio is too abrupt. The account of Tristana's relationship with him fills chapter after chapter; his presence is keenly felt throughout most of the novel. However uninteresting Horacio himself may be, there is no denying his importance to Tristana. What is significant is not Horacio as a real human being, but what he tomes to represent for Tristana.

Horacio Díaz is a pleasant young man, a somewhat mediocre painter of still lifes, landscapes and portraits. His life story is not unlike Tristana's. Orphaned at an early age, he spent a lonely, isolated childhood under the watchful eye of a tyrannical grandfather who denied him every opportunity to develop his artistic talents and frustrated any effort at self-expression. After his grandfather's death, a long sojourn in Italy enabled Horacio to study the work of the masters and perfect the techniques of his craft. It proved to be as well a time of initiation into the sensual pleasures of life and the ways of the world. The affair with Tristana constitutes his initiation into the mysteries of love and the intricacies of human relationships.


There is no reason to doubt the genuineness of Horacio's affection for Tristana, nor the authenticity of his initial attraction to her. Tristana plays a very important role in Horacio's life, being, as it were, his first love. But even before his departure for Villajoyosa, Horacio has begun to back away from Tristana, frightened by the intensity of her convictions and the absoluteness of her ideals, intuiting the growing disparity between the Tristana he has imagined and the Tristana who really exists. In the letters he receives from Tristana during his stay at Villajoyosa, Horacio becomes equally aware of the disparity between the Horacio Tristana has created and the real Horacio, so that the dramatic meeting with Tristana following her operation is, for Horacio, somewhat anticlimatic, only confirming the mutual disillusionment he had long expected. The half-hearted attempts at reconciliation, at the rekindling of the earlier passions, are doomed to failure, and Horacio slowly drifts away, ultimately into marriage with another woman.

Yet the whole experience, for Horacio, is not a negative one. He emerges from it relatively unscathed. If anything, the experience for Horacio is beneficial: he is introduced to the mysteries of love, and learns some very valuable lessons about the nature of human relationships.160

For Tristana, the experience with Horacio is, on the other hand, profoundly destructive. An experience which might have led to spiritual fulfilment and to the realization of self, leads instead to spiritual annihilation, the pathetic re-enslavement of self. It is this self-annihilation which contributes most to the moral and spiritual emptiness which fills the final pages of the novel and leaves the reader himself temporarily devastated.

Why should Tristana's experience with this rather innocuous young artist have been so upsetting? The answer lies in the fact that Tristana never experiences Horacio as Horacio Díaz, a real human being of flesh and blood, but as the incarnation of what Jungian psychologists call the Ghostly Lover. Tristana never sees or accepts Horacio Díaz as he really is, but rather projects onto him her images of the ideal self, a compendium of her own values, aspirations, wants and needs. As such, he becomes an integral part of her struggle for self-realization and the ultimate failure of that struggle. In Jungian terms, Horacio Díaz is clearly an animus figure.161

Jungian psychologist Esther Harding explains that a young woman may fall in love with a man whom, in the absence of the glamour resulting from her own state of mind, she might find not even likeable or attractive: «The glamour and attraction she feels for him are effects produced by forces in her unconscious which have been stirred to activity through her contact with the man. She projects onto him some important element from her unconscious, her masculine soul, her animus... Her animus, projected the outside world, draws her irresistibly».162

Harding goes on to point out how the phenomenon of animus projection often appears in literature in plays or novels where the girl is portrayed as having a lover who is not of this world, but belongs, instead, to the spirit or ghost world (i.e. the dybbuk of Jewish folk literature). The girl may be haunted by the ghost of a dead youth with whom she was in love, or may continue to be obsessed by her continued love for a departed or lost lover. In fact, the lover may never have existed as an objective reality at   —98→   all, but is only a subjective effect within the woman's psyche163. The ghostly, or fantastic, quality of the animus is explained in Jung's statement in The Secret of the Golden Flower that the animus is the «air spirit». In contrast to the anima, the earth spirit who draws men toward the center of the earth or the depths of the water (representing their own unconscious), the animus, or Ghostly Lover, draws women up into the air. Says Esther Harding: «To the woman her animus is up in the air, if she goes with him it is to meet him in the realms above the earth».164

Such is the spiritual force of the animus that the Ghostly Lover sometimes takes on the appearance of the Divine Lover, and the attraction to the Ghostly Lover takes on mystic overtones. As Harding explains: «The idea of the Ghostly or Spiritual Lover is not a new one. Religious mystics of all ages and creeds have all sought for union with a Divine Lover».165

In any case, the experience of the Ghostly Lover is an inner or subjective one. In Harding's words: «Whether we conceive of the Divine Lover as God, in either case he may be perceived by [the woman] as being outside her conscious personality and yet he is one with whom she can converse only subjectively, that is to say, within herself. Even where an actual man carries the values of the Ghostly Lover, it is still possible in every case to demonstrate the subjective or psychological character of the energy which the Ghostly Lover wields».166

From the moment of her first encounter with Horacio, Tristana seems aware that he is, somehow, a part of herself. The narrator describes the scene of their first meeting: «Antes de aproximarse a los incendiarios vio a un hombre que hablaba con el profesor de los sordomudos, y al cruzarse su mirada con la de aquel sujeto, pues en ambos el verse y el mirarse fueron una acción sola, sintió una sacudida interna, como suspensión instantánea del correr de la sangre. ¿Qué hombre era aquel? Habíale visto antes, sin duda; no recordaba cuándo ni dónde, allí o en otra parte...»167 In her first letter to him, she writes: «Te quise desde que nací...» (p. 1555) and in the third, «Te estoy queriendo, te estoy buscando desde antes de nacer». (p. 1556) The Ghostly Lover within makes Horacio appear hauntingly familiar.

In the beginning, Tristana even seems minimally aware of the tendency of her own fantasy to distort the real Horacio: «Asombrábase ella del engaño de sus ojos en las primeras apreciaciones de la persona del desconocido. Cuando se fijó en él, la tarde aquella de los sordomudos, túvole por un señor sí, como de treinta años. ¡¡Qué tonta!! ¡Si era un muchacho!» (p. 1555) But this discriminatory power is soon lost, and she succumbs gradually to the fantasy created by her own psyche.

The idealization of Horacio (or, if you will, the realization of the Ghostly Lover) begins early in the novel. Listening to Horacio's account of his life, Tristana thinks him unique among men, a kind of romantic saint deserving inclusion in the most sacred of martyrologies. She believes «que el hombre que le había deparado el Cielo era una excepción entre todos los mortales y su vida de lo más peregrino y anómalo que en clase de vidas de jóvenes se pudiera encontrar: como que casi parecía vida de un santo, digna de un huequecito en el martirologio». (1558-9)


Horacio has an almost magical effect on her, ridding her of all her fears and anxieties («Desde que te quiero..., no tengo miedo a nada, ni a los toros ni a los ladrones. Me siento valiente hasta el heroísmo, y ni la serpiente boa ni el león de la selva me harían pestañear». p. 1561), and pulling her ever upward toward the airy regions of the ideal: «Soy tan feliz», she writes, «que a veces paréceme que vivo suspendida en el aire, que mis pies no tocan la tierra, que huelo la eternidad y respiro el airecillo que sopla más allá del Sol». (p. 1579)

With Horacio's absence, the process of spiritualization, and the presence of the Ghostly Lover, grow more evident. In her first letter written to Horacio at Villajoyosa, Tristana has already begun to doubt Horacio's real nature: «¿Es verdad que me quieres tanto y que en tanto me estimas? Pues a mí me da por dudar que sea verdad tanta belleza. Dime: ¿existes tú, o no eres más que un fantasma vano, obra de fiebre, de esta ilusión de lo hermoso y de lo grande que me trastorna?» (p. 1579) In the course of time, the image of the real Horacio begins to fade: «Lo más raro de cuanto me pasa es que se me ha borrado tu imagen: no veo tu lindo rostro; lo veo así como envuelto en una niebla, y no puedo precisar las facciones, ni hacerme cargo de la expresión de la mirada. ¡Qué rabia!... A veces me parece que la neblina se despeja..., abro mucho los ojitos de la imaginación y me digo: 'Ahora, ahora le voy a ver.' Pero resulta que veo menos, que te oscureces más, que te borras completamente, y abur mi señor Juan. Te me vuelves espíritu puro un ser intangible, un... no sé cómo decirlo.» (p. 1584) Tristana's imagination struggles against the force of reality: «Yo te engrandezco con mi imaginación cuanto quieres achicarte, y te vuelvo bonito cuando te empeñas en ponerte feo... No te opongas a mi deseo, no desvanezcas mi ilusión; te quiero grande hombre y me saldré con la mía. Lo siento y lo veo... no puede ser de otra manera». (p. 1591) and finally succeeds in replacing the real Horacio with the ideal being.

The triumph of the Ghostly Lover is complete. In her last letters to Horacio, Tristana abandons completely the special lover's vocabulary she had previously shared with him. The narrator comments: «Todo ello se borró de su memoria, como se fue desvaneciendo la persona misma de Horacio, sustituida por un ser ideal, obra temeraria de su pensamiento, ser en quienes se cifraban todas las bellezas visibles e invisibles... El Horacio nuevo e intangible parecíase un poco al verdadero, pero nada más que un poco. De aquel bonito fantasma iba haciendo Tristana la verdad elemental de su existencia, pero sólo vivía para él, sin caer en la cuenta de que tributaba culto a un Dios de su propia cosecha.» (p. 1592) As the narrator points out, it is only out of force of habit that the letters were still being sent to Horacio at Villajoyosa. They were in fact meant for someone else, the Ghostly Lover within: «En realidad debían expedirse por la estafeta del ensueño hacia la estación de los espacios imaginarios». (p. 1592)

Ultimately, the Ghostly Lover becomes the Divine Lover. In a letter written to Horacio after her operation, Tristana exclaims: «Yo te veo más lejos aun que antes te veía, más hermoso, más inspirado, más generoso y bueno. ¿Podré llegar hasta ti con la patita de palo, que creo me pondrán?... Te adoro lejos, te ensalzo ausente. Eres mi Dios, y como Dios, invisible.   —100→   Tu propia grandeza te aparta de mis ojos...; hablo de los de la cara..., porque con los del espíritu bien claro te veo...» (p. 1599) The wise old Don Lope understands only too well the identity of Tristana's lover. She is, he tells Saturna, «enamorada de un hombre que no existe, porque no puede existir, porque si existiera, Saturna, sería Dios y Dios no se entretiene en venir al mundo para diversión de las muchachas.» (p. 1602)

As if it were not already clear, the narrator makes the transformation explicit:

El ser humano y perfecto que amó, construyéndolo ella misma con materiales tomados de la realidad, se había desvanecido, es cierto, con la reaparición de la persona que fue como génesis de aquella creación de la mente; pero el tipo, en su esencial e intachable belleza, subsistía vivo en el pensamiento de la joven inválida. Si algo pudo variar ésta en la manera de amarle, no menos varió en su cerebro aquella cifra de todas las perfecciones. Si antes era un hombre, luego fue Dios, el principio y fin de cuanto existía... Fue la mudanza del hombre en Dios tan completa al cabo de algún tiempo, que Tristana llegó a olvidarse del primer aspecto de su ideal, y no vio al fin más que el segundo, que era seguramente el definitivo.

(p. 1610)                

The workings of the Ghostly Lover in the psyche of the individual woman often take the form of what Jung calls «the sacred conviction»168, strongly held values, ideas and opinions which are the motivating force of a woman's behavior in the real world and which somehow parallel the transformations of the Ghostly Lover himself.

In Tristana, the «sacred conviction» takes the form of a desire for complete liberation from dependence on others, for total self-affirmation. It begins as a kind of vague restlessness, a still unformed desire arising from the subconscious. The narrator explains: «Anhelos indescifrables apuntaron en su alma. Se sentía inquieta, ambiciosa, sin saber de qué, de algo muy distante, muy alto, que no veían sus ojos por parte alguna...» (p. 1548) This vague desire is soon translated into an explicit expression of her desire for freedom and self-affirmation. In her conversation with Saturna, Tristana cries: «Yo quiero vivir, ver mundo y enterarme de por qué y para qué me han traído a esta tierra en que estamos. Yo quiero vivir y ser libre...» (p. 1549) In a subsequent letter to Horacio she complains: «El problema de mi vida me anonada más cuanto más pienso en él. Quiero ser algo en el mundo, cultivar un arte, vivir de mí misma. El desaliento me abruma. ¿Será verdad, Dios mío, que pretendo un imposible?» (p. 1580)

In the society in which Tristana lived, the greatest obstacle to freedom and self-affirmation for a woman was marriage itself. «¿No te parece a ti», she says to Saturna, «que lo que dice [don Lope] del matrimonio es la pura razón? Yo..., te lo confieso, aunque me riñas, creo como él que eso de encadenarse a otra persona por toda la vida es invención del diablo». (p. 1549) And as she later writes to Horacio, «Si encuentro mi manera de vivir, viviré sola. ¡Viva la independencia! sin prejuicio de amarte y de ser siempre tuya. Yo me entiendo: tengo acá mis ideitas. Nada de matrimonio, para no andar a la greña por aquello de quien tiene las faldas y quien no. Creo que has de quererme menos si me haces tu esclava; creo que te querré poco si te meto en un puño. Libertad honrada es mi tema...» (p. 1572)


Freedom and self-affirmation to Tristana mean the ability to do anything, to be anything. «Di otra cosa», she says, «y no puede una ser pintora y ganarse el pan pintando cuadros bonitos?... Y no podría una mujer meterse a escritora y hacer comedias?» (p. 1549) Ultimately it means a kind of Faustian desire to know everything. Tristana begins to read avidly in a frenzied effort to absorb all knowledge. As she explains to Horacio: «He empezado por traerme un carro de libros, pues en casa jamás los hubo. Son de la biblioteca de su amigo el marqués de Cicero. Excuso decirte que he caído sobre ellos como loco hambriento, y a éste quiero, a éste no quiero, heme dado unos atracones que ya, ya... ¡Dios mío, cuánto sabo! En ocho días he tragado más páginas que lentejas dan por mil duros. Si vieras mi cerebrito por dentro, te asustarías. Allí andan las ideas a bofetada limpia unas con otras... Me sobran muchas, y no sé con cuálas quedarme... y lo mismo le hinco el diente a un tomo de Historia que a un tratado de Filosofía... Yo con todo apenco. Quiero saber, saber, saber.» (p. 1584)

Conversely, this desire for absolute independence, for absolute self-affirmation, is expressed as a desire to be loved more and more by the Ghostly Lover (Horacio). As she confesses to Horacio: «Sólo un recelo chiquillo y fastidioso... me estorba... y es la sospecha de que todavía no me quieres bastante, que no has llegado al supremo límite del querer ¿qué digo límite, si no lo hay? al principio del último cielo, pues yo no puedo hartarme de pedir más, más, siempre más, y no quiero, no quiero sino cosas infinitas, entérate... todo infinito, infinitísimo, o nada...» (p. 1579) In effect, then, paralleling the transformation of Horacio into the Ghostly and then the Divine Lover, Tristana's «sacred conviction», her struggle for liberation and self-affirmation, has become a search for the Absolute.

Esther Harding explains a third way in which the Ghostly Lover may manifest himself. He may appear, she says, «in the form of visions or values which are seen or sensed deep in the unconscious, the inner world. Many people are lured by such fantasies. For instance, the would-be artist who sees marvellous pictures which she never paints, or the author whose poem or novel remains unwritten, or the theosophist who lives in a world which can never be realized in practical life -all are lured away from reality by the Ghostly Lover. If the artist tries to paint her picture, the meagerness of the reality product discourages her».169

Tristana's struggle for self-expression takes a dozen different forms -painting, public speaking, languages, acting, music, cooking- but all are vaguely amateurish and dilettantish in nature, and all are short-lived. She seems incapable of directing, channeling and utilizing her energies, of realizing her innate talents. The narrator describes Tristana's initial enthusiasm for painting: «Después de ver trabajar a Díaz, se prendó más de aquel arte delicioso, que le pareció fácil en su procedimiento, y entráronle ganas de probar también su aptitud... ¡Qué risa! ¡Si resultara que también ella era pintora! No le faltaban disposiciones, porque la mano perdía de hora en hora su torpeza, y si la mano no la ayudaba, la mente iba muy altanera por delante, sabiendo cómo se hacía, aunque hacerlo no pudiera.» (p. 1569) Tristana herself describes her attempts to write novels and plays: «Puedes creerme que estas noches últimas, desvelada y no sabiendo cómo entretener el tiempo,   —102→   he inventado no sé cuántos dramas de los que hacen llorar y piezas de las que hacen reír, y novelas de muchísimo enredo y pasiones tremendas y qué sé yo. Lo malo es que no sé escribir..., quiero decir, con buena letra; cometo la mar de faltas de gramática y hasta de ortografía. Pero ideas, lo que llamamos ideas, cree que no me faltan». (p. 1550)

Tristana feels herself innately capable of anything, but blames a restrictive society or a lack of education for her inability to realize her innate talents. Yet at the same time, she is aware of her own lack of practicality, her inability to carry things out on a real level. «No puedo enterarme de las menudencias prácticas de la vida», (p. 1572) she explains to Horacio, «Lo que he pensado de mí, estudiándome mucho, porque yo me estudio, ¿sabes?, es que sirvo, que podré servir para las cosas grandes; pero que decididamente no sirvo para las cosas pequeñas». (p. 1576)

The metamorphoses of her modes of self-expression are not completely fortuitous. They, too, obey the same process of spiritualization we have witnessed previously. Painting (at least the style of painting practiced by Horacio) involves as much imitation of the outer world as creation through fantasy. Learning English and German and reading volumes of philosophy lead her into the world of the intellect. Music, for Tristana, serves finally as a means of communication with the sublime world of the spirit. In the mystic state produced by the music she plays, Tristana becomes totally oblivious to the world around her.

At this point the presence of the Ghostly Lover as a living reality in Tristana's life has been thoroughly documented. But the question remains, what does it all mean? How does Tristana's inner experience of the Ghostly Lover reflect, and thus explain, the course of her own psychological development? What does it tell us about Tristana's awakening to consciousness, her struggle for liberation, and the reason for her ultimate failure? As Esther Harding explains, «The Ghostly Lover is a living reality to every woman... As he is a part of her so she is bound to him; she must find him and consciously assimilate him if she is not to suffer the pain and distress of disintegration. For he is her soul-mate, her 'other-half', the invisible companion who accompanies her throughout life»170. Tracing the course of Tristana's fateful encounter with the Ghostly Lover, and analyzing her inability to «consciously assimilate» him should enable us to explain the ultimate and devastating disintegration of self she suffers in the end.

Jungian psychologists believe that there are four stages in the development of a woman's psyche. The first stage of feminine development is one of psychic unity where there is no separation of the ego from the unconscious. As Anne Ulanov explains: «At this stage woman exists within the self-conserving matriarchal circle symbolized by the close mother-daughter relationship symbolized by Demeter and Kore. Everything is self-evident and natural. A man is an outsider for her: she experiences him but never surrenders to him»171. As the novel begins, Tristana, an only child, is living alone with her widowed mother, an hysterical woman whose obsessive mania for cleanliness is a clear indication of frigidity and hostility to men. The Tristana who, after her mother's death, comes to live with Don Lope is a doll-like creature with no sense of her own identity and apparently no   —103→   psychic life of her own. She appears unaware of herself as a psychological entity independent of others.

The narrator's initial description of Tristana creates the image of a woman of total purity and innocence, physically and psychologically virgin in every sense of the word: «Pero lo más característico en tan singular criatura era que parecía toda ella un puro armiño y el espíritu de la pulcritud, pues ni aun rebajándose a las más groseras faenas domésticas se manchaba. Sus manos, de una forma perfecta... tenían misteriosa virtud, como su cuerpo y ropa, para poder decir a las capas inferiores del mundo físico: 'la vostra miseria non mi tange'. Llevaba en toda su persona la impresión de un aseo intrínseco, elemental, superior y anterior a cualquier contacto de cosa desaseada o impura...» (p. 1542)

The second stage of feminine development is, in effect, a kind of awakening to consciousness, the first awareness of self. In Jungian terms:

the second stage of feminine development still is focused on the containing uroborus, but it is invaded by the paternal and hence dominated by the Great Father archetype. The masculine is experienced as an anonymous, transpersonal and overpowering numinosum, completely other than ego, thereby making the ego conscious of its own limits. The image of divinity now appears as a male figure and first emerges mythologically as power groups of demonic masculine characters... A woman experiences this invading masculine, carried by a man or by the animus, as a transpersonal ravishing penetrator, who breaks into her consciousness, overpowers her, transports her outside of herself, connects her to her own instinctual nature, and fundamentally changes her personality.172

The moment of Tristana's awakening to consciousness of self occurs shortly after she has come to live with Don Lope. More importantly, it also coincides with the moment of Don Lope's seduction of his innocent ward. Don Lope ravishes Tristana, an act which sets in motion an unconscious process which eight months later bursts forth into her conscious mind. As the narrator describes it:

Este despertar de Tristana no era más que una fase de la crisis profunda que hubo de sufrir a los ocho meses, aproximadamente, de su deshonra, y cuando cumplía los veintidós años. Hasta entonces la hija de Reluz, atrasadilla en su desarrollo moral, había sido toda irreflexión y pasividad muñequil, sin ideas propias, viviendo de las proyecciones del pensar ajeno, y con una docilidad tal en sus sentimientos, que era muy fácil evocarlos en la forma y con la intención que se quisiera. Pero vinieron días en que su mente floreció de improviso, como planta vivaz a la que le llega un buen día de primavera, y se llenó de ideas, en apretados capullos primero, en espléndidos ramilletes después.

(p. 1548)                

It is a moment in which Tristana issues her own Cartesian declaration of existence. «Aquí estoy. ¿No ves cómo pienso cosas grandes?» she declares. (p. 1549) But the declaration of existence must also be a declaration of independence, for as the narrator explains, «[...] a medida que se cambiaba en sangre y médula de mujer la estopa de la muñeca, iba cobrando aborrecimiento y repugnancia a la miserable vida que llevaba bajo el poder de don Lope Garrido...» (p. 1549) Don Lope's despicable act has made her aware not only of her own ego (I exist), but of the limits on the ego (The Other exists). She begins to chafe under - the limits placed on her freedom, and to plan with Saturna the afternoon excursions to escape from   —104→   Don Lope's watchful eye which eventually lead to her encounter with Horacio Díaz.

Ironically, if Don Lope's seduction of Tristana and subsequent enslavement of her make her aware of her own ego and the limitations on it, he also provides her with the impetus and the means to transcend those limitations. As he ravishes her physically, he also plants deep within her psyche the desire for freedom and the seeds which eventually flower as her «sacred conviction». The narrator explains: «Era que don Lope, sin que ninguno de los dos se diera cuenta de ello, habíala hecho su discípula, y algunas ideas de las que con toda lozanía florecieron en la mente de la joven procedían del semillero de su amante y por fatalidad maestro». (p. 1549) Tristana's abhorrence of matrimony seems patterned after Don Lope's doctrine of social anarchy (every man, and woman, for himself). But, in fact, what in Don Lope is merely an excuse to satisfy his monumental ego whenever and wherever he pleases, becomes, in Tristana, an authentic: demand for self-realization and a protest against individuals and social institutions which prevent that. It is the protest against marriage which provides the ideological framework for her subsequent struggle for self-liberation and self-realization.

As Anne Ulanov explains,

In the third stage of feminine development, the masculine assumes an individual and personal form, represented archetypally by a hero who, frees the daughter from bondage to her father and then establishes an equal relationship with her... The hero can be an outer man or an inner animus figure... and most often he is both, because women usually project masculine qualities of consciousness onto actual men. Thus either a 'real' man and partner assumes the freeing role of consciousness and dissolves the old form of encompassment in the unconscious, or else it can be an 'inner' man, a power of consciousness in the woman herself which accomplishes the freeing.173

It is at this point in the novel, after Tristana has experienced the first vague stirrings of self-awareness, has shaped them into an ideology of sorts, and has made the first tentative attempts to escape the tyranny of Don Lope, that Horacio appears. He has all the markings of the archetypal saviour. As he recounts Tristana's first meeting with Horacio, the narrator ponders its significance: «¿Qué dijo a Tristana el sujeto aquel? No se sabe. Sólo consta que Tristana le contestó a todo que sí, sí, sí! cada vez más alto, como persona que, avasallada por un sentimiento más fuerte que su voluntad, pierde en absoluto el sentido de las conveniencias... Fue su situación semejante a la del que se está ahogando y ve un madero y a él se agarra, creyendo encontrar en él su salvación... Voces hondas del instinto de salvación eran las breves y categóricas respuestas de la niña de don Lope; aquel sí pronunciado tres veces con creciente intensidad de tono, grito de socorro de un alma desesperada...» (p. 1555)

Jung explains that as a woman projects her animus outward onto a real man (or a succession of men), the animus, too, undergoes four stages of development: «He first appears as a personification of a mere physical power, for instance, as an athletic champion or 'muscle man.' In the next stage he possesses initiative and the capacity for planned action. In the third phase,   —105→   the animus becomes the 'word,' often appearing as a professor or clergyman. Finally, in his fourth manifestation, the animus is the incarnation of meaning. On this highest level he becomes a mediator of the religious experience whereby life acquires new meaning».174

Initially, Tristana seems most aware of Horacio's physical presence. He seems, at first, larger than life -taller, bigger, handsomer, perhaps older and more experienced than he really is. (Tristana is surprised to learn, upon closer inspection, that the man she had supposed to be thirty is really only a boy.) In the early stages of their relationship, Horacio is jokingly called «señó Juan», referring to his brute strength as a kind of popular hero. At this point, Tristana's perception of Horacio as physical power reflects her experiencing her own power to escape from Don Lope. In addition it is Horacio who takes the initiative in starting the relationship, who acts to draw her out of herself and away from Don Lope. The early stages of their relationship are characterized by an abundance of movement, as Tristana and Horacio ride, walk and run incessantly through the streets, plazas and parks of Madrid. Tristana herself grows bolder and more open in defiance of Don Lope's restrictions on her freedom of movement.

The next stage of their relationship is dominated by the word. Movement has stopped, as they pass hours together talking incessantly, alternately listening and speaking, pouring out their souls to one another. Horacio becomes Tristana's teacher, allowing her to use her intellect, introducing her for the first time to art as a means of self-expression. Tristana herself becomes more self-confident as she talks, trying out her ideas on Horacio and simultaneously convincing herself of the authenticity of her beliefs.

It is at this point the real Horacio begins to disappear in the shadow of the Ghostly Lover, the animus as the incarnation of meaning, he who is capable of leading Tristana toward liberation and self-realization, toward an encounter with the true meaning of her life.

The fourth stage of feminine development «is marked by stages of confrontation and individuation, by self-discovery and by self-giving»175. Ideally, in this stage, the woman confronts the Ghostly Lover, recognizes him for what he is. That is, she learns to distinguish and accept the real man on whom she has projected her own animus, and assimilates the Ghostly Lover into herself. She learns to act on the values of the Ghostly Lover she had formerly projected onto another. Esther Harding explains: «Thus it is that the Ghostly Lover disappears and in his stead is born a new spiritual power transforming the life of the individual. Through the redeemed animus the woman gains a relation to the masculine principle within herself... The redeemed animus is a mediator between the conscious and the unconscious. He brings the values of the creative sources of the unconscious within reach of that human being who has had the courage and the strength to overcome the Ghostly Lover».176

But for Tristana there is, as we shall see, no authentic confrontation with the Ghostly Lover. The final meeting with Horacio does not lead toward further individuation, to self-discovery and a realization of self in the world, but rather to a retreat from reality, a negation of self-discovery, a total and ultimate surrender to the Ghostly Lover, accompanied by an apparent   —106→   accommodation to the facts of external existence. Again, the question is why? Why does Tristana fail to realize herself? In Jungian terms, why does she fail to «assimilate her Ghostly Lover»? Any attempt to answer the question must ultimately deal with the other two central elements of Tristana's story: the enslaving power of Don Lope and Tristana's incapacitating illness. What, in fact, do these two external realities have to do with Tristana's inner drama?

The reader intuitively believes that Tristana's failure is in some way related to Don Lope's diabolical machinations. In the first place, Don Lope's seduction of Tristana has left her dishonored, permanently stigmatized as a virtual pariah in a society in which a woman's chastity is her primary virtue. Don Lopes act has severely limited Tristana's possibilities for success or acceptance by that society. Too, with what appears at times to be diabolical cleverness, Don Lope plays with Tristana's emotions, alternately giving her more freedom and pulling her back toward him; at times being understanding, affectionate, and paternal; at other times, becoming insanely jealous and tyrannical. Tristana is left emotionally unsure of herself, and her feelings toward Don Lope become increasingly ambivalent.

Yet, in the course of the novel, Don Lope becomes less monstrous, more human, and indeed shows some genuine affection for Tristana. The fact is that he does nothing actively to prevent Tristana from becoming free, from realizing her self. Indeed, he encourages all her efforts at self-expression. He becomes increasingly tolerant of Tristana's relationship with Horacio, offers to write the letters to Horacio which Tristana dictates to him, and in the end even allows Tristana to see his rival. Don Lope, sure of his ultimate victory, is content to play a waiting game. The worldly-wise old rake understands very well Tristana's idealistic temperament, Horacio's mediocrity, and the real nature of the relationship between them, which he knows is bound to end unsatisfactorily.

At the same time, the reader cannot help but feel that Tristana's illness, the cancer which results in the amputation of her right leg, is equally responsible for her failure. If Don Lope's seduction of Tristana first placed limits on her freedom, it is the incapacitating illness which seals her fate, leaving her a complete invalid, totally dependent on others. Her illness further limits her possibilities to act, and the operation which follows leaves her a «mutilated woman», even less desirable to men.

Yet, although these two factors set up the external limits of Tristana's freedom, they do not completely explain the internal dynamics of her psychological development. As we have already seen, Don Lope's seduction of Tristana may have reduced her freedom in society, but it was at the same time the occasion of her awakening to consciousness and the impetus toward self-realization. Tristana's illness is, in fact, only the ultimate manifestation of her innate incapacity to act in the real world.

Tristana herself intuitively associates her illness with Don Lope. As she writes to Horacio for the first time of the pain in her leg, she explains: «Es que don Lope me ha pegado su reuma. Hombre, no te asustes; don Lope no puede pegarme nada, porque... ya sabes... No hay caso. Pero se dan contagios intencionales. Quiero decir que mi tirano se ha vengado de mis   —107→   desdenes comunicándome por arte gitanesco o de mal de ojos la endiablada enfermedad que padece.» (p. 1585) We may ask, what justification is there for this intuitive understanding that Don Lope is somehow «responsable» for her illness?

The fact is that Tristana's illness, and the subsequent amputation of her diseased limb which leaves her an invalid, incapable of acting on her own, accomplish precisely what Don Lope has always wanted: Tristana's complete enslavement, her total physical and emotional dependence on him. Don Lope's very real mental anguish over her health, his frantic efforts to cure her, in spite of whatever latent guilt feelings may be present, are designed primarily to make Tristana feel eternally grateful, to make her morally indebted to him forever. One can only wonder, then, if Don Lope, too, should not be seen as the incarnation of a part of Tristana herself, an incarnation of her own inertia, self-doubt and lack of will, her inability to realize her «sacred conviction», the same inertia which manifests itself physically as her incapacitating illness? In the inner drama taking place in Tristana's psyche, is Don Lope the negative animus which takes revenge on the Ghostly Lover which was leading her toward realization of her self, by leading her back, through loss of ego, to unconsciousness?177

This inner unconscious drama precedes, and indeed, foreshadows the resolution of the external drama, the fateful encounter with Horacio in which Tristana must ultimately come to terms with the Ghostly Lover. Tristana intuitively anticipates what the result of this encounter will be. She is profoundly upset by the news of Horacio's re-appearance on the scene, first trying to deny its possibility («abrigaba en su interior cierta desconfianza de la realidad de aquel suceso») (p. 1604), then vainly struggling to avoid it. «Al propio tiempo», explains the narrator, «el deseo puramente humano y egoísta de ver al ser querido, de oírle, luchaba en su alma con aquel desenfundado idealismo, en virtud del cual, más bien que buscar la aproximación, tendía, sin darse cuenta de ello, a evitarla. La distancia venía a ser como una voluptuosidad de aquel amor sutil, que pugnaba por desprenderse de toda influencia de los sentidos». (p. 1604)

The moment of desengaño is inevitable. As Horacio enters her room, he appears a stranger to her. She cannot recognize him. His voice is totally foreign to her. The narrator explains: «En los primeros momentos sintió Tristana una desilusión brusca. Aquel hombre no era el mismo que, borrado de su memoria por la distancia, habíala ella reconstruido laboriosamente con su facultad creadora y plasmante». She knows he is not the same, yet as she confesses to Don Lope, «no ceso de representármelo como antes era». (p. 1607)

The shock is such that Tristana is momentarily confused and disoriented. She listens with apparent interest and enthusiasm to Horacio's glowing descriptions of the joys of domestic life in Villajoyosa. She at times even appears to share Horacio's newfound disdain for art. Horacio's perfunctory efforts to rekindle her old interest in painting are futile, as Tristana loses all interest and whatever talent she may have shown, defeated by her own loss of faith. Finally she stops painting altogether. Horacio and Tristana's visits are spent in silence, as if they no longer had anything to say to one another.   —108→   Tristana appears totally unmoved by Horacio's increasingly frequent absences.

But the disorientation is only temporary. As if to compensate for his momentary defeat, the Ghostly Lover returns with a vengeance, luring Tristana ever upward with promises of bliss in another world. The narrator explains: «Del marasmo espiritual en que se encontraba salió Tristana casi bruscamente, como por arte mágico, con las primeras lecciones de música y de órgano. Fue como una resurrección súbita, con alientos de vida, de entusiasmo y pasión que confirmaba en su verdadero carácter a la señorita de Reluz...» (p. 1608). As her hands fly over the keys of the organ, Tristana is totally transfigured, lost in a kind of mystic trance, completely absorbed in the world of the ideal: «Su rostro se transfiguraba, adquiriendo celestial belleza; su alma se desprendía de todo lo terreno para mecerse en el seno pavoroso de una idealidad dulcísima.» (p. 1608) She becomes more and more oblivious of the real world and indifferent to its demands: «Como quien se arroja a un piélago tranquilo, zambullose la señorita en el mare magnum musical, y allí se pasaba las horas, y sumergiéndose en lo profundo, ya saliendo graciosamente a la superficie, incomunicada realmente con todo lo humano y procurando estarlo con algunas ideas propias que aún la atormentaban». (p. 1609)

She no longer is concerned about her own physical appearance, but dresses simply and unpretentiously. She gives up all attempts to learn to walk on crutches with her new artificial limb, and is content to be pushed about in her wheelchair. She meekly accepts her guardian's maiden aunts' ultimatum that she marry Don Lope. The narrator explains: «Contra lo que él creía, la señorita no tuvo nada que oponer al absurdo proyecto. Lo aceptó con indiferencia; había llegado a mirar todo lo terrestre con sumo desdén... Casi no se dio cuenta de que la casaron, de que unas breves fórmulas hiciéronla legítima esposa de Garrido, encasillándola en un hueco honroso de la sociedad. No sentía el acto, lo aceptaba como un hecho impuesto por el mundo exterior, como el empadronamiento, como la contribución, como las reglas de policía». (p. 1611)

It is as if, in these final pages of the novel, the deep schism in Tristana's psyche has become final, irreparable. A part of her has finally succumbed to the celestial music of the Ghostly Lover; the other has inevitably submitted to the benign tyranny of a now senile, bourgeois Don Lope. Tristana's failure to «assimilate the Ghostly Lover», to redeem her animus, to act upon her own values, to realize in the world her most sacred conviction, has led to the inevitable pain and suffering and desintegration of self of which Esther Harding spoke. The inner conflict with the Ghostly Lover, however much its dramatic intensity may be muted by years of existence under the destino gris of life in Restoration society, will never be resolved. It is precisely this irresolution of Tristana's inner drama which creates the perplexing ambiguity of the novel's ending. As he contemplates the kind of life which Tristana may lead with Don Lope in the years left to her, the reader, along with Galdós himself, can only speculate: «¿Eran felices uno y otro? Tal vez». (p. 1612)

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