Summary Of Father Urrutio's By Night In Chile

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Often individuals have conflict between their conscious political or social behaviors and actions verses their underlying ‘political unconscious’. One’s political unconscious often supports an individual’s true beliefs on political or social matters, but are overtly suppressed to acquire wealth, social status, or power. This conflict for Father Urrutia in Bolaño’s By Night in Chile is seen in his deathbed confessional where he shares the stories of his past actions or behaviors versus the voice of his political unconscious. Father Urrutia confesses to the reader his conflict as a possible atonement for his failure to uphold to his socialist beliefs while outwardly yielding to the desires of elite class status and power.
Bolaño establishes
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“How good of you to come, Father, said the older woman, kneeling before me and pressing my hand to her lips. I was afraid and disgusted, but I let her do it anyway.” (Bolaño 9) In the context of the quote, we see Father Urrutia mixed with emotions by the older woman kissing his hand. This moment in the text illustrates the conflict that came with Father Urrutia’s mixed emotions between his different ideologies as a priest and literary critic. The literary critic ideologies within him find the actions of the woman disgusting, indicating his elitist view. However, the priestly nature of Father Urrutia’s both consciously and unconsciously allows the woman’s actions to follow through to uphold to his priestly duties of caring. Father Urrutia also makes statements such as, “Hard bread, peasant’s bread, baked in a clay oven.” (Bolaño 11) Statements like this are the surfacing of Father Urrutia’s elitist views, creating a higher social standing for himself, even though he is a priest. However, in this scene we learn of the wizened youth, a personification of Father Urrutia’s political unconscious. The wizened youth is the voice Father Urrutia needs to remind him of his place as a priestly figure and his socialistic…show more content…
On pages 81-82 Father Urrutia presents the reader with a timeline of political transition from a socialist democracy to a military dictatorship. However, Father Urrutia masks these political events as small interjections while retelling about his vast readings of Greek literature. Behind the literature of antiquity, Father Urrutia seems to be hiding from either being involved in the transition or as a justification of the political shift in Chile from a Marxist government to a military dictatorship. Furthermore, what is also important to consider is the significance of Father Urrutia reading Greek literature. During antiquity, political thought revolved around democracy, which is opposite to the political transformation occurring in this portion of the book. The Greek writings represent his beliefs in the democratic socialism within his political unconscious. These beliefs are later in conflict as he teaches Marxism to the leadership of the military dictator, Pinochet to help destroy the socialist democracy. “Why do you think I want to learn about the fundamentals of Marxism? He asked. The better to serve our country, sir. Exactly, in order to understand Chile’s enemies, to find out how they think…” (Bolaño 100) Father Urrutia sees teaching Pinochet as a possible gain in

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