The Mortifications Themes & Motifs

Derek Palacio
This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Mortifications.
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Fate and Faith

The author's references to the genre of tragedy point to the theme of fate as rejection and faith as acceptance of power beyond human control.

Starting the novel with the line "Ulises Encarnacion did not believe in fate" (3) primes reader expectations for a family tragedy. Within the world of the novel, Ulises seems fated to become his father, for "sons have a tendency to become their fathers" (19), as Willems states as a matter of fact. Willems himself became a tobacco farmer, like his father before him, and his father before that. Classical allusions surround Ulises to remind us of the genre at large and his lack of control over his own destiny in the novel. Even at first impression, Ulises's name is the Latin translation of "Odysseus" and his nickname "The Titan" references a god from a chaotic universe. His character arc begins thrust...

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This section contains 2,746 words
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Buy The Mortifications Study Guide
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