The Censors, by Luisa Valenzuela

856 WordsJul 17, 20184 Pages
“The Censors” by Luisa Valenzuela The short story “The Censors” by Luisa Valenzuela is set in Argentina during the dictatorship of Jorge Videla who reigned from 1976 to 1983. Juan, the protagonist of the text, starts the story by writing a letter to his old friend, Mariana, at her new residence in Paris. He had received Mariana’s new address from a confidential source and was too excited to think of his actions before writing and sending the letter. Later, Juan’s “mind [was] off his job during the day and [he couldn’t] sleep at night,” thinking of the letter (Valenzuela 966). He believes the contents to be innocent and irreproachable, but the censors of the Argentine government “examine, sniff, feel, and read between the lines of each…show more content…
He was shocked at the “subtle and conniving ways employed by people to pass on subversive messages” (Valenzuela 968) and censored much of the letters he analyzed. Juan’s zeal was noticed by his superiors, and he was soon promoted to Section B, where he was to read and reread the letters as well as search them with magnifying glasses and electron microscopes for microdots. His work was so tiring; he barely managed to eat dinner before falling into bed at night. His mother worried for him, and, although it was not always the truth, told him that Lola and the girls were at the bar and missed him. Juan never indulged though, for he would be distracted, and he could not afford that. He was the most cunning at the Censorship Division and was about to congratulate himself for finding his true mission, when he received his letter to Mariana. Without regret, Juan censored it, and the next morning was executed: “one more victim of his devotion to his work” (Valenzuela 968). “The Censors” Uncensored Within Valenzuela’s “The Censors,” the satirical theme of this story mocks Juan, his thoughtless actions and his letter are symbols for innocence and secrecy. Juan’s actions symbolize the innocence of childhood and those who haven’t experienced hardship, of those who are impressionable and naïve. Juan’s actions when he receives Mariana’s address and immediately “without thinking twice, he [… writes] her a letter” and sends it show his lack of

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