Flowering Judas

by

Katherine Anne Porter

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Braggioni Character Analysis

A self-styled “leader of men,” Braggioni is the story’s antagonist and Mrs. Braggioni’s husband. Hypocritical, vulgar, and corpulent, Braggioni is extremely influential in local politics and has become addicted to power, wearing elegant clothing in stark contrast to the largely impoverished workers he aids. Physically described as possessing “true tawny cat’s eyes,” Braggioni positions himself as “a good revolutionist and professional lover of humanity,” but in fact has long-abandoned his political convictions and views the locals with contempt. He has drained his wife with his infidelities and long absences and attempts to court Laura, for whom he represents the ultimate betrayal of idealistic thinking. He promises Laura that she will become as disappointed and “wounded by life” as he is and flirts with her shamelessly, hoping to wear down her defenses. Porter allows a glimpse of the man that Braggioni was at one time, the scrawny and serious young man who dreamed of revolution and whom the women called “Delgadito.” But he is now little more than a power broker who manipulates the local political agitators and wears a silver ammunition belt. Much of the story consists of his taunting of Laura, who runs mysterious errands for him that increase his stranglehold over the neighborhood. Singing off-key as he plays his guitar, Braggioni is a grotesque harbinger of what happens when revolution turns to bitter complacency.

Braggioni Quotes in Flowering Judas

The Flowering Judas quotes below are all either spoken by Braggioni or refer to Braggioni. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harcourt edition of Flowering Judas published in 1979.
Flowering Judas Quotes

Laura, who haunts the markets listening to the ballad singers, and stops every day to hear the blind boy playing his reed-flute in Sixteenth of September Street, listens to Braggioni with pitiless courtesy, because she dares not smile at his miserable performance. Nobody dares to smile at him. Braggioni is cruel to everyone, with a kind of specialized insolence, but he is so vain of his talents, and so sensitive to slights, it would require a cruelty and vanity greater than his own to lay a finger on the vast cureless wound of his self-esteem. It would require courage, too, for it is dangerous to offend him, and nobody has this courage. Braggioni loves himself with such tenderness and amplitude and eternal charity that his followers—for he is a leader of men, a skilled revolutionist, and his skin has been punctured in honorable warfare—warm themselves in the reflected glow, and say to each other: “He has a real nobility, a love of humanity raised above mere personal affections.”

Related Characters: Laura, Braggioni
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

The gluttonous bulk-of Braggioni has become a symbol of her many disillusions, for a revolutionist should be lean, animated by heroic faith, a vessel of abstract virtues. This is nonsense, she knows it now and is ashamed of it. Revolution must have leaders, and leadership is a career for energetic men. She is, her comrades tell her, full of romantic error, for what she defines as cynicism in them is merely "a developed sense of reality.

Related Characters: Laura, Braggioni
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

“I am disappointed in everything as it comes. Everything." He shakes his head. "You, poor thing, you will be disappointed too. You are born for it. We are more alike than you realize in some things. Wait and see. Some day you will remember what I have told you, you will know that Braggioni was your friend.”

Related Characters: Braggioni (speaker), Laura
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

“Let them sweat a little. The next time they may be careful. It is very restful to have them out of the way for a while.”

Related Characters: Braggioni (speaker), Laura, The Roumanian and Polish Agitators
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

“They are stupid, they are lazy, they are treacherous, they would cut my throat for nothing.”

Related Characters: Braggioni (speaker), Laura
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

There will be two independent processions, starting from either end of town and they will march until they meet, and the rest depends…” He asks her to oil and load his pistols. Standing up, he unbuckles his ammunition belt, and spreads it laden across her knees. Laura sits with the shells slipping through the cleaning cloth dipped in oil, and he says again he cannot understand why she works so hard for the revolutionary idea unless she loves some man who is in it.

Related Characters: Braggioni (speaker), Laura
Related Symbols: The Silver Ammunition Belt
Page Number: 99-100
Explanation and Analysis:

“Today, I found Eugenio going into a stupor. He refused to allow me to call the prison doctor. He had taken all the tablets I brought him yesterday. He said he took them because he was bored.”

Related Characters: Laura (speaker), Braggioni, Eugenio
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Flowering Judas LitChart as a printable PDF.
Flowering Judas PDF

Braggioni Character Timeline in Flowering Judas

The timeline below shows where the character Braggioni appears in Flowering Judas. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Flowering Judas
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Every night, Braggioni waits for Laura in her house and sings to her “in a furry, mournful voice.”... (full context)
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Tonight, Lupe, Laura’s “Indian maid,” warns her that Braggioni is waiting for her upstairs. Even though Laura is exhausted, she lets Braggioni sing to... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Braggioni launches into his song, which he sings abrasively off-key, but Laura “dares not smile” or... (full context)
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Unfortunately for Laura, Braggioni has recently set his sights on her, which puts her in a precarious position, as... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion vs. Politics Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Laura knows she must “resist tenaciously” Braggioni’s advances “without appearing to resist,” and she tries to not let herself think about what... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Although Laura is “determined not to surrender her will,” she grudgingly acknowledges Braggioni’s logic in contrast with her unrealistic expectations and nurses a sense of betrayal “by the... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Instead, Laura continues to humor Braggioni with her knees clutched anxiously together. Laura wears a blue serge skirt and a collar... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Back in the present, Braggioni’s song reaches its crescendo. The song’s lyrics are exceedingly melodramatic and recounts the life of... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
His song finished, Braggioni focuses his “yellow cat’s eyes” on Laura and boasts of his power, which he has... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Laura feels “chill[ed]” by Braggioni’s words and a nameless fear that she will suffer “violence, mutilation, a shocking death.” However,... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion vs. Politics Theme Icon
...depend on Laura to help them in small ways each day, they all wonder why Braggioni won’t come to their aid.  (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
...from the Party’s headquarters to the fugitives who hide from firing squads in desolate conditions. Braggioni, however, is content to “let them sweat” and finds having them out of the way... (full context)
Religion vs. Politics Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
The Polish and Roumanian agitators attempt to feed each other misinformation through Laura, though Braggioni is content to have both in his power and plays them off one another. Both... (full context)
Religion vs. Politics Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
...be led into evil,” as she turns down the advances of the men she encounters. Braggioni, though, continues to try and impress her. He considers himself “a judge of women” and... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Braggioni exists in the guise of “a good revolutionary and professional lover of humanity” and recalls... (full context)
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Laura’s thoughts turn to Braggioni’s wife, who campaigns for the women who work in the cigarette factories, walks in picket... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion vs. Politics Theme Icon
Something is bothering Laura tonight, as she has just come from the prison. Braggioni tells her that there are two parades due to come from opposite sides of the... (full context)
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Laura tells Braggioni what’s been on her mind: the death of a prisoner named Eugenio, who took all... (full context)
Religion vs. Politics Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Braggioni goes home to the long-suffering Mrs. Braggioni, who calls her husband “my angel” and begins... (full context)