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Luis Fajardo Linares Which is the Real One? After reading “Which is the Real One?” I have divided it into a series of signifiers or units of sense to analyze it. I have selected 14 “lexia” or units of meaning according to Roland Barthes’s article “Textual Analysis of Poe’s “Valdemar”.” These lexia are: (1) The title “Which is the Real One?” (2) I once knew a certain Bénédicta (3) who filled earth and air with the ideal, and whose eyes scattered the seeds of longing for greatness, beauty and glory, for everything that makes a man believe in immortality. (3) But this miraculous girl was too beautiful to live long; (5) and so it was that, only a few days after I had come to know her, she died, (6) and I buried her with my own hands one day when Spring was swaying its censer over the graveyards. I buried her with my own hands and shut her into a coffin of scented and incorruptible wood like the coffers of India. (7) And while my eyes still gazed on the spot where my treasure lay buried, (8) all at once I saw a little creature who looked singularly like the deceased, stamping up and down on the fresh earth in a strange hysterical frenzy, and who said as she shrieked with laughter: (9) “Look at me! I am the real Bénédicta! a perfect hussy! (10) And to punish you for your blindness and your folly, you shall love me as I am.” (11) But I was furious and cried: “No! no! no!” (12) And to emphasize my refusal I stamped so violently on the earth that my leg sank into the new dug grave up to my knee; (13) and now, like a wolf caught in a trap (14), I am held fast, perhaps forever, to the grave of the ideal.

there is a deictic function.” “greatness. altarpieces. He4 cannot touch her because she only exits in his mind according to his religious beliefs. cultural. This is because she does not exist. determines which one would be the real one. If in lexias 2 and 3 the story evolves in the narrator’s mind. Nevertheless. As a reader. “Immortality” implies that a man ideally believes he is immortal like the divine Bénédicta.” “beauty.” and “coffer” refer to cultural and religious codes.2 Lexia 1.” “coffin. . a special wood used to construct some religious furniture. and this enigma points out a duality about the real or unreal Bénédicta that I as a reader need to resolve. The title constitutes an enigma. etc. She is not real. Nouns as “burial. Spring refers to an idea of Bénédicta’s “renaissance” as it happens with flowers and connects to Catholic ceremonies when a censer is used.” but Bénédicta refers to women in general instead of a particular one. and Bénédicta is passive. after a short time it is impossible for him to bury Bénédicta with his own hands. The narrator is very active. I observe that Bénédicta was buried by the narrator as if she were a living being or as if he tries to keep her according to his ideals. Lexia 2. 5. and put her in an incorruptible and sacred coffin. and religious codes in these lexias. In this part of the text. for instance tabernacles. I visualize chronological. by using adjectives like “ideal.” “glory. This lexia indicates a deictic function because the narrator is saying that “I once knew a certain Bénédicta. but everything continues in an ethereal environment or world. As a proper name Bénédicta means “blesses” or “blessed” and is related to religious and Christian tradition. now lexias 4. When the narrator puts her in “a coffin of scented and incorruptible wood” it gives an idea about cedar.” “censer. In lexia 3.” the narrator places Bénédicta in a celestial plane as she was sacred or divine. and 6 supposedly show that the story develops in a material plane.

3 In lexia 7. Again in these lexias there is a deictic function. In this way. as lexia 12 shows. First. no. the meaning would be that maybe the man will stay “forever” a prisoner of the earthly and unearthly ideal. no. stamping the earth so violently that his leg gets caught in the grave and he stays trapped. he suddenly sees a new woman appeared. In conclusion. I realize that the story in the poem has a metaphor that relates the man to the wolf. I see that he created her in his mind because he thought that he could eat any woman. as it says in lexia 13. he reacts with rage. Now in lexia 11 after the narrator has heard Bénédicta’s bad intentions. In the last lexia. or lexias. This new woman who looks like Bénédicta. this new Bénédicta does not exist. but now the situation has changed. “like a wolf caught in a trap” . so they are only an abstraction. “stamping up and down on the fresh earth. Furthermore. with Barthes’s structural analysis helps to divide the poem in little units of meaning. I infer that at the beginning of this story he finds himself on a superior level and the woman on a lower level. From that moment.” is hysterical and frenzied. that help to resolve the enigma about the real or unreal Bénédicta that the author poses in his poem.” In lexia 8. The concrete situation is that the narrator has created both Bénédictas in his mind. “Look at me! I am the real Bénédicta. Now she is active so. So in lexia 13 he is trapped in his creation. and Bénédicta to the lamb. But. when the narrator says that he knew Bénédicta and describes her. saying “No. because between this one and the first Bénédicta there is nothing. In most of the lexias there are deictic functions.” and refuses what she has said. Second. and their roles have reversed. the narrator becomes passive. the narrator is gazing at the place where he has buried his “treasure. At the same time she shrieks with laughter and tells him in lexia 9. now the woman dominates the man.” She identifies herself as a prostitute and says “you shall love me as I am” as a punishment for his blindness and folly in lexia 10. their roles reverse. once again. if first the man (the narrator) dominated the woman.

. the outcome is that the man cannot eat any woman as the wolf cannot eat the lamb. At the end. and the wolf is the metaphor used instead of man.4 means that he fell down in his own trick.