The Garden Next Door: The Double Theme Of Exile And Identity

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This paper will discuss the double theme of exile and identity in the novel "The Garden Next Door" Julio's problem is related to the question of exile that is implicit in the title garden next door, the paradise always irrevocably lost. While exile here is presented as a specific, historical, and personal circumstance because Julio and Gloria are in exile because of the political situation in Chile, it is also a metaphor of life in general, the human condition: everyone lives expelled from the Garden of Eden that would accord the unchallenged possession of power and a position of visible centrality.


Thus, that garden, that paradise lost, must be read as a metaphor of power. Remember, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were pretty much in control of the world, and Adam, charged with naming all the flora and fauna, might be seen as both a demigod and as the original, human writer. Nonetheless, that garden, from which we perceive ourselves as inevitably exiled, is always located elsewhere and possessed by someone else; thus even one's image of it is necessarily projection, fiction. For Julio, the garden of the duke's house next door, which he "sees" voyeuristically through the frame of the open window, is an ideal setting onto which he projects the fantasies that allow him to perceive the life of the "beautiful," powerful people next door. In this respect it mirrors the window in Larco's painting after it has been altered to include the idealized portraits of Hilda and Marcos. ...
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