Paranoia In The Judge's Wife By Isabel Allende

1446 Words 6 Pages
Isabel Allende’s short story, “The Judge’s Wife,” follows the chaotic affairs of Nicolas Vidal. Before his conception, Vidal’s mother, Juana the Forlorn, undergoes multiple abortion attempts that are barbaric in nature. Clinging onto life, Vidal is later born into a sinister existence that shapes his corruptive behavior. With his father absent and his mother neglecting his rearing, Vidal develops a lack of purpose. In addition, the deformity that causes him to have four nipples further alienates him from normalcy. Owing to this abnormality, Vidal begins his life with a prophecy claiming that a woman will be responsible for his death. Naturally, the prognosis produces a sense of paranoia in Vidal, provoking his choice to isolate himself from …show more content…
Exploring Vidal’s childhood and progression into adulthood reveals to readers how he is prone to become an outlaw. Not only does he not know his father, but he is also born in “a windowless room,” signifying how his ensuing subsistence will be cataclysmic (1227). “His face was scarred from knife fights before he reached his teens, so it came as no surprise to decent folk that he ended up a bandit” describes Allende (1227). Certainly, Vidal’s deprivation of appropriate disciplining fosters a criminal outlook within his demeanor. There is no one to stop him from engaging in violent endeavors as neither of his parents tends to his welfare. Moreover, his decision to join a gang of crooks is expected. “By the age of twenty, he had become the leader of a band of desperadoes. The habit of violence toughened his sinews” (1227). On top of joining the gang, Vidal evolves into the ring’s frontrunner, establishing their reputation for senseless crimes: “His gang gained such a fearsome reputation that the surrounding villages and estates paid to keep them away” …show more content…
In addition, their pitiful bond also explains Vidal’s decision to jeopardize her life. When Vidal is in the womb, his mother decides “the world had no place for him” (1227) Consequently, she tries to “wrench him from her womb with sprigs of parsley, candle butts, douches of ashes, and other violent purgatives” (1227). It is evident that Juana the Forlorn renounces Vidal prematurely, tempering “his soul to the hardness of iron” (1227). As Vidal’s crimes continue to plague his community, Judge Hidalgo—a man hell-bent on prosecuting Vidal—plots a scheme to capture him. Hidalgo imprisons Vidal’s mother in the town plaza for all to see, completely disregarding her innocence. The judge is aware of his injustice but believes it is “the lesser of two evils” (1228). Juana the Forlorn is then degraded and embarrassed as she is caged with only one jug of water and guards monitoring her every move. As she suffers incessantly, Hidalgo is sure Vidal will come to her rescue. However, Vidal lets his mother be publicly dehumanized for three days, all because of his fear of being detained; his fear of losing his head over a woman; and the poor relationship he holds with his Juana the

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