Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Cesar Ferreira

Second Advisor

Nancy Bird-Soto

Committee Members

Katie Vater


failure, Julio Ramon Ribeyro, psychoanalytic theory, sexual frustration, sexuality


In the short stories of Peruvian writer Julio Ramón Ribeyro, there are two important subjects that are mutually connected and are part of a larger literary proposal: failure and sexual frustration. When Ribeyro wrote his short stories, he was portraying the Peruvian reality and the idiosyncrasy of Peruvians in general. Certainly, failure has often been associated with Ribeyro’s literary proposals, as most of his characters fail in one way or another; however, little has been said about sexual frustration, which is quite an important thematic element that should not be overlooked. The theoretical framework relies mostly on psychoanalysis, including Jacques Lacan’s theories about intersubjective desire, as well as Slavoj Žižek’s ideas on racism and Judith Butler’s theory of gender. There are twelve short stories in which failure and sexual frustration are essential narrative components; eight of them can be categorized as part of Ribeyro’s early works (“La tela de araña”, “Página de un diario”, “De color modesto”, “Una aventura nocturna”, “Fénix”, “La piedra que gira”, “Una medalla para Virginia”, “Un domingo cualquiera”) and the remaining four (“Terra incognita”, “La juventud en la otra ribera”, “Silvio en El Rosedal”, “Alienación”) offer an even deeper and more insightful perspective on sexuality.

Keywords: Julio Ramón Ribeyro, failure, sexual frustration, sexuality, psychoanalytic theory, Peru, short stories, fiction, Jacques Lacan.