Flowering Judas


Katherine Anne Porter

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Themes and Colors
Idealism vs. Reality Theme Icon
Religion vs. Politics Theme Icon
Misogyny and Femininity  Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Flowering Judas, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Idealism vs. Reality

Katherine Anne Porter’s “Flowering Judas” is the claustrophobic account of Laura, a 22-year-old American teacher of deep “political faith,” who finds her idealism tested by a series of painful realities in the largely poor Xochimilco borough of Mexico City. Laura has come to Mexico to aid the revolutionary cause by working with local unions, educating the underserved native population, and embodying a sense of “what life should be.” But when Laura is introduced, these…

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Religion vs. Politics

Raised Catholic, Laura has exchanged religion for politics—yet she finds herself in a church contemplating the image of a saint. Moreover, her dream of the Judas tree and the deceased Eugenio illustrates the manner in which she still thinks religiously about Leftist politics. The question of how political faith coexists with religion is addressed throughout the story, even beyond Laura’s internal struggles, as in the case of the May Day parade where the Catholics are…

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Misogyny and Femininity

Laura, of “notorious virginity,” seeks primacy and independence, but finds herself constrained by Braggioni’s forwardness and privilege. Taken for granted by her students and hemmed in by Braggioni’s sexual advances, she fears she will become a prisoner akin to Mrs. Braggioni. Misogyny on the part of her comrades means that Laura is seen more for her looks than her loyalty to the Zapatistas and other left-wing workers, foiling her attempts at attaining…

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