The study –titled Entre la estupidez y el honor: La violencia en el fondo del vaso de Francisco Ayala (Between Foolishness and Honour: Violence in Ayala’s Bottom of the Glass)- was conducted by Alana Gómez Gray. It was published in the specialised journal Sociocriticism, coordinated by professor Antonio Chicharro Chamorro
The novel The Bottom of the Glass, written by the recently deceased Francisco Ayala, shows that violence against women cuts across all social classes. This is the conclusion drawn from the study titled Entre la estupidez y el honor: La violencia en el fondo del vaso de Francisco Ayala, conducted by Alana Gómez Gray. It was published in the specialised journal Sociocriticism, coordinated by professor Antonio Chicharro Chamorro.
Alana Gómez Gray concludes in her study that the two female characters in Ayala’s novel –which represent high and low social status– accept Jose’s physical abuse as something natural. According to the researcher, “this fact evidences that however fast new technologies are evolving, in the private life, there are unfortunate situations that do not change with time”.
The Bottom Of The Glass, a novel written by Francisco Ayala during his stay in the United Stated was first published in Argentina in 1962. At that time Spain was under Franco’s regime, and the dictator’s wife -Carmen Polo- organized a tribute to domestic workers; that was the year when Marilyn Monroe died and the current Monarchs of Spain, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía got married; it was the same year that the miniskirt was invented, the Beatles premiered and Pope John XXIII called the Second Vatican Council (In an attempt to modernize the Church, Latin Mass and Gregorian Chants were abolished, to make masses more understandable for people.)
“It was an era full of advances and modernity –states Alana Gómez Gray– while, in the private life, things had not changed much, and women were abused worldwide cutting across social classes and educational level. In the 60’s, violence was part of women’s daily life, as it was in past centuries.”
The Bottom Of The Glass tells the fall into disgrace of a tradesman called José Lino Ruiz –representative example of the middle-class transindividual subject. Because of his double standards and the misunderstandings ¬fuelled by the press, Ruiz loses his social reputation and his professional image, and it is the lost of his social reputation what he regrets more.
According to Alana Gómez Gray “Ruiz lives in a fictitious republic in Central America and he is married with Corina –the typical housewife who does not know anything about money, which is very significant, since she is the wife of a tradesman¬. Simultaneously, Ruiz has a relationship with one of his employees, Corina. At the same time, Corine cheats on him with one of his friends. This “love polygon” ¬–the researcher explains– “is full of violence practised by men to women”.
During the last years, the myth that gender violence only occurs in low social classes has been dispelled. According to the researcher, by presenting high-class characters, Ayala tries to transmit the message that gender violence affects both the dominant person and the dominated, however distinguished their origins are. “Similarly –she states–, we can observe that physical factors – such as origin– also have a role in gender violence, as can be drawn from the way that Ruiz differentiates the native woman through language”.
Researcher Alana Gómez Gray. Department of General Linguistics and Theory of Literature. University of Granada, Spain. Phone: +34 958 241000 Extension 20157