A Failed Oedipus Complex in Juan Valera’s Pepita Jiménez

The novel Pepita Jiménez (1874) has been extensively analyzed because of the many profound topics that it presents, such as the erotic symbolism, the reverse catholic conversion of the protagonist, or the opposition between the spiritual world and the physic world. This essay offers a new perspective of the novel, from the point of view of the psychological analysis of the protagonist’s behavior. Starting with the absence of Don Luis’ mother, following with his 10 years of isolation, and finishing with an encounter at his return with a feminine and potentially maternal figure, this essay will show how Don Luis represents the archetype of a subject suffering from an Oedipus complex. However, this complex will not be totally fulfilled due to the nature of the relationships of its subjects, resulting in a failed or deconstructed Oedipus complex.
Through an analysis of the context in which Don Luis appears in the novel, a deep observation of how he describes or represents the character of Pepita, and lastly an exploration of his relationship with his father and Pepita respectively, this essay will demonstrate that the happy ending romance of Don Luis and Pepita is predisposed by the subconscious fantasies of Don Luis’ immature mind. 


  • Spanish Peninsular Studies