Primitivity, the repressed culture and the lost object of desire: A pyschoanalytic analysis of Nick Joaquin's short fiction

Date of Publication


Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Literature


College of Liberal Arts


Literature, Department of


Outstanding undergraduate thesis, 2017

Thesis Adviser

Jeremy De Chavez

Defense Panel Member

Shirley Lua
Carlos M. Piocos III


This thesis explores the ways in which Lacanian concepts might be used to understand the role of pre-colonial culture in selected short stories (specifically) Three generations , May day eve , Mass of Saint Sylvestre and Summer solstice written by Nick Joaquin. It will argue that the narratives gothic understones guise the existence of paganist and primitive culture as the return of the repressed-- aspects of pre-colonial culture expelled yet nevertheless existing in the new social order through metaphorical relations. Tensions in the narratives arise from the co-existence of pre-colonial and colonial culture and they occur side-by-side with the conflicts in the narratives. The thesis will also argue that these selected stories deal with specific objects of desire and various psychological dilemmas. Hence, concepts such as objet petit a, imaginary fixation, the symbolic, repetition compulsion, melancholia and female represssion will be used to articulate the kind of psychological dysfunctions that these works are essentially dealing with. For Three generations it is the failure to resolve a troubled past in May day eve and Mass of Saint Sylvestre fixation with Lacanarian imaginary and melancholia for the former lastly, female repression in Summer solstice. The primary goal of this thesis is to bridge the gap in criticism by observing and analyzing the intimate connections of the psyche with its cultural condition. Hence the goal of dissecting post-colonial ideas imbibed in these works through Lacanian and post-Lacanian concepts.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F Henry Sy Sr. Hall

Physical Description

67 leaves ; 28 cm.


Philippine fiction--History and criticism

This document is currently not available here.