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The Queer Use of Communal Women in Borges El muerto and La intrusa Sex and women are two very problematic components in the fiction of Jorge Luis Borges the absence of these two elements which seems so casual and unremarkable really highlights the strangeness of their exclusion For example scenes of sexual acts are almost totally lacking in Borgesian writing Emma Zunzs sexual encounter with an anonymous sailor is the most notable exception and even the most veiled suggestion of erotic activities is limited to only a very few stories Similarly scarce1 too are female characters who figure prominently in the narration and who seem to possess a independent personhood2 The fictional world created by Borges is a place where women if they appear at all seem to exist mainly as debased objects3 for the purpose of providing men with an opportunity for sex and where such sexual activities by means of a female body Sex and women are used primarily as bargaining chips in the relationship between men never for the traditional purposes of either procreation or pleasure Sex in Borges fiction by means of an objectified female body4 is nothing more than a maneuver that gives definition and dynamism to the interaction between men In opposition to the traditional critical standpoint that male-male interaction in Borgesian fiction is merely homosocial and therefore purely nonsexual a closer inspection of Borges work reveals the clear but playfully veiled presence of homoerotic desire My purpose here is to analyze two stories El muerto and La intrusa to expose the way in which the homosocial element of Borges fictional world slides across the continuum5 towards the homosexual side when men in each story make use of a communal woman for the purpose of connecting physically and emotionally with another man In these two stories the erotic desire of the two men is plainly not directed towards a female but rather towards each other with the
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