In Praise of the Stepmother Summary
Mario Vargas Llosa

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In Praise of the Stepmother Summary

Conceived as a novel of eroticism, this short work is centered on the quest for worldly happiness and the individual's prospects of attaining it. The medium of the quest is sensory and sexual fulfillment, and Vargas Llosa's characters conduct their lives assuming that this fulfillment is both the cause and the effect of their happiness. As in other erotic texts, the characters' responses and relationships are fueled exclusively by sensual and sexual stimulation, and the mutual satisfaction gained from sexual encounters is in turn a reaffirmation of their sense of contentment and well being, of success and happiness. Sexual stimulation for Rigoberto, however, is not spontaneously generated but rather slowly achieved through an elaborate nightly toilette and the inspirational power of the artistic erotica he keeps locked up in the living room. By appealing to so much external stimulation, the character's predicament revolves around a number of questions...

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In Praise of the Stepmother Short Guide