Flowering Judas By Porter

There are many theories on the significance of dreams and there is no definitive
encyclopedia on their meanings. The ability to have one dream that is so bizarre
and fantasy like and the next seem so real that it is hard to tell if it really
happened or not, is quite amazing. One theory is that dreams reflect not only
daily events and stresses, but also deep hidden fears and desires. It is the way
the psyche copes and releases intense emotions, especially the ones most deeply
repressed and denied. Katherine Anne Porter relates this phenomenon superbly in

"Flowering Judas." Her complicated writing style mimics the way the main
character, Laura, utilizes daily defense mechanisms to avoid having any personal
connection with anybody, including herself Porter clearly feels that this type
of severe emotional suppression is unhealthy and detrimental to ones emotional
state. It only furthers alienation from society, the opposite sex and self, all
of which go against the nature of humans being social and emotional creatures.

This unhealthy psychological repression must have some outlet, which comes
inevitably in the enigmatic dream sequence. Porter shows that practicing
self-detachment leads to insecurity and lack of purpose outside of maintaining
this position. The constant struggle to suppress internal rage and personal
opinions is away to maintain safety. The exposure of real feelings makes one
vulnerable and because of this Laura keeps everything inside. She subconsciously
dresses in heavy nun-like clothes to help hide and keep contained her real
feelings and opinions. She also has a pervading sense of danger and disaster on
a daily basis and no sense of direction in her life. The suffocation of feelings
is so complete that she has no idea of what exactly she is feeling or why she is
there. The only comfort she has is her ability to maintain her walls and feel
safe. Her comfort is in knowing she is safe because her inner thoughts and
feelings are unexposed. Porter demonstrates that the severity of the
preoccupation to avoid societal attachments is a very lonely and difficult path
that only adds to further internal turmoil. The desire to remain emotionally
isolated while having a very active role in the community is extremely
contradictory, especially in the tumultuous surroundings the character chooses
to live. She is a teacher, a political contact to many people and makes daily
visits to political prisoners. Yet, she feels uncomfortable in the world around
her, like a warped puzzle piece. There is no personal attachment or even
commradery with who she is in contact, not on her part anyway. There is no talk
of home or family and she has no desire to go anywhere else. She wants to remain
isolated in her daily encounters with society because it is the only familiarity
that she has with life, her loneliness and separateness among the masses. This
allows her to continue fortifying her internal walls and defenses and this is
how she is accustomed to maintaining her safety in isolation. Porter reveals
that the supreme denial of the opposite sex strongly goes against natural human
instincts and leads to much deep-rooted turmoil and alienation. This driving
force behind Lauraís desire to be alone stems from her primary instinct to
avoid any type of personal contact with men physically or mentally. The thought
of being on the same mental meeting ground with a man, let alone having any sort
of physical contact causes her severe mental distress and physical pain. A
torturous death is more appealing then to allow this type of connection to
occur. Even though she feels this way, she subjects herself to male company more
than to any other type. The dutiful pleasantness outwardly presented to male
company is a complete contradiction with the internal struggle to contain
intense rage and fear of men. The male issues are exposed in the dream when for
the first time Lauraís true emotions are revealed and a satiating experience
is had between her and a symbolic male. This dream, of course, is a nightmare
for her. She wakes screaming and does not want to go back to sleep for fear that
all she strives to maintain in her stance against men will dissipate in the
dream state, which she cannot control. In dreams there is freedom from daily
restraints. Emotions are able to flow free and are a key to dealing with
personal issues. "Flowering Judas" shows that severely psychologically
repressed people are able to release their hidden emotions in dreams but once
awake, they remember the dream as a nightmare. This