Short Story by Unamuno

Dear readers,

my Googling powers are failing me today, so if anybody manages to encounter an English translation of the short story “La beca” (in translation it would probably be titled “Scholarship”) by Miguel de Unamuno, I will be very grateful.

This story is the most powerful depiction of a patriarchal family on 7 short pages of text that I have ever seen. It can be used to let people figure out if they were brought up in a patriarchal family. If they get what the story is about, if it touches a place of pain in them, then yes, they were. If it leaves them confused, then no, they weren’t.

I will test it on my students tomorrow.

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21 thoughts on “Short Story by Unamuno”

  1. “For me the story was deeply traumatic”

    For me, “Long day’s journey into night” (in it’s 1962 film incarnation) is the most traumatic piece of art I can think of.

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  2. Regarding the story, I find myself identified as I underwent some of this suffering.
    I don’t find it painful to read though. I also find hard to associate this with patriarchy given that it was my mother the source of my torment.

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  3. I read it in Google translate. The parents made the son support them via stipends for excellent grades, till his death. Right? That’s one type of patriarchal family, but not all families are patriarchal in this way. What about famiies, who give all to children, even spoiling them, but transfer some patriarchal messages and don’t encourage independence (I am not talking about education or getting a job here)?

    Btw, have you read “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams? Would be interesting to hear your opinion. Read it yesterday and was impressed. May be, his other plays are worse, have read only one so far.

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    1. In this other type of families, parents may do economical supporting too, but not necessary, and, most importantly, are ready to sacrifice for children, never dreaming of making them work to death to support parents.

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    2. “I read it in Google translate. The parents made the son support them via stipends for excellent grades, till his death. ”

      – This is a metaphor. The point is that they consumed him, and whether that consumption is economic, emotional, psychological, or of any other kind is not important.

      “What about famiies, who give all to children, even spoiling them, but transfer some patriarchal messages and don’t encourage independence (I am not talking about education or getting a job here)?”

      – There is no real difference between such families and the ones described by Unamuno.

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      1. I might have read it in the distant past, but forgotten, or heard of it. In any case now is when it has an impact. In the past it would not have affected me, I’d just have said “astute commentary.” Now I can recognize my cannibal parents although I think of them more as vampires … my image is that I am hooked to a machine that transfers the blood I manufacture to my mother. I keep just enough blood to stay alive and manufacture more!

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