House Taken over by Julio Cortaza

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House Taken over by Julio Cortaza

This essay will provide an analysis of Julio Cortázar’s short story “House Taken Over.” It will explore the story’s themes of isolation, fear, and the unknown. The piece will analyze Cortázar’s use of narrative style and symbolism, particularly focusing on the significance of the house and the unseen presence that takes it over. It will also consider the story’s broader political and social implications, particularly in the context of Cortázar’s life and work in Argentina. Also at PapersOwl you can find more free essay examples related to Gothic Fiction.

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ritics: political context. I am of course referring the to the rise of Peronism in the 40s, the subsequent politicization of the the Argentine working class, and the destabilization of the Argentine working class, and the destabilization of the bourgeoisie.” (Levinson 103). The rise of the Peronism that Levinson wrote about and mentioned previously led to the ultimate creation of the “House Taken Over” because of Cortazar’s unhappiness with the government. Cortazar writes in the story about how the house the brother and sister owned was inherited from their family.

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This could be a comparison to money that was inherited by the middle class of Argentina from their original family. The unknown begins to slowly take over the main characters’ house, without any entitlement. Similarly, the working class had no previous money inheritance, but instead had to work for it. This similarity provides further evidence that Cortazar wrote “House Taken Over” for ultimate personal political satisfaction. Since Cortazar was unhappy with the government during the time period, he used this literature piece as a way to release his dissatisfaction and criticize the government.

Psychological Perspective

Social interaction in the earlier stages of Cortazar’s life led him to suppressing his feelings of homosexuality because he was scared of the consequences of stating he was, in fact, homosexual; his writing was a way to supress this feeling. Homosexuality in the 1940’s was a very controversial topic because of the ramifications that it came with. Earlier stages in world history, Homosexuality was considered a psychopathic personality that often led to people being classified with “Moral Insanity” (Boyer 92). Moral Insanity was a term placed on many people who had certain impulses as stated with evidence, “Moral Insanity has sometimes been understood as a kind of rudimentary version of the psychopathic personality or as a precursor to the defense of irresistible impulse. Yet the concept was a kind of “catchall” for a diversity of conditions, including bipolar disorder, kleptomania, and homosexuality (Boyer 92). Cortazar was believed to be bi-sexual, in turn I believe that Cortazar used his literature work for psychotherapy because of his sexuality. Psychotherapy is methods used to change certain natural behaviors or impulses a person has.

Since homosexuality and bisexuality were so discouraged during the time period the story was written, Cortazar used his writing in “House Taken Over” as a way to relieve, what was believed then to be insanity. John Turner also criticized Cortazar’s literature work psychologically. He stated, “Cortazar offers, often by means of apparently “fantastic” adventures, a stream of evocations of male sexuality which are frighteningly “real” in the sense that they strike a familiar chord in the reader . . . In part, what Cortazar is doing, as he makes it clear in several places, is deliberately violating taboos which he saw as preventing the liberation of literature and society from their disabling traditions.”(Turner 44). Turner believes Cortazar’s reasoning for writing is to deliberately violate social norms, and this could be correct. His theory could be correct because Cortazar himself was bisexual. Like previously stated, certain sexualities were seen as irresistible impulses that were often deemed as insanity. By Cortazar using certain situations in his literature that violate these social norms, he used this as a way to draw attention away from his true feelings about sexuality. If Cortazar was able to confuse the reader by writing about weird social taboos, an example of this being the uncomfortable relationship between brother and sister found in “House Taken Over”. Cortazar knew that if he wrote his work based off strange social taboos, he could hide his deep feelings of homosexuality. The general public would’ve considered Cortazar insane if he revealed his true feelings, and certain social interactions could of changed the way he felt about revealing these feelings. As illustrated in this Social Neuroscience report, “Social behavior was found to have substantial impact on the brain. Early social interaction, for instance, are important in normal brain and behavioral development.” (Cacioppo 100).

This stigma created by these consequences was why Cortazar created these stories, like “House Taken Over”, that violated common social norms. Cortazar understood that if he tried to shift the focus of the public to another strange thing about his writing, he could try to use this writing as therapy to suppress his feeling of homosexuality because of the stigma that surrounded, what was then called a disease or irresistible impulse. Through “House Taken Over”, Cortazar provided therapy to himself, which we now define today as the term “Psychotherapy”.


Julio Cortazar’s Gothic short story, “House Taken Over”, provided the author a way to express his feelings during his life, regardless of political or emotional occurrences that were happening during the time. It is unfortunate to see how mankind has been so controversial and critical about certain aspects of life that some people were too scared to share their true feelings because of the repercussions it might entail. “House Taken Over” can be used to understand the plight of mankind through the various historical and psychological needs that the text satisfied for the author. For Cortazar, writing was seen as a sanctuary because he was able to develop, and share his true feelings or ideas about a certain perspective.

Moreover, Cortazar used his literature work as therapy because the feelings that Cortazar had about certain things or people were not socially acceptable during the time period. If Cortazar were to share these views or feelings that were not acceptable, he may have had to deal with an unpleasant outcome that could of consisted with being titled mentally insane, or even some sort of punishment from the government. Although mankind has had some difficulty in accepting everyone’s beliefs or feelings, positive changes have been made since Cortazar’s time. Society has become more acceptable to certain sexual impulses and political beliefs. There are now certain days for promoting how being homosexual or bisexual is acceptable. Companies, people, and political figures have made movements to support this cause. Similarly, there have been movements made to fight for political and social justice in society. However, society today can still be very critical and hateful regarding those topics, but changes are beginning to be made. Cortazar’s texts helped start the discussion, and as changes continue to be made, Cortazar’s legacy lives on through the impact of his literature works.

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House Taken Over by Julio Cortaza. (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from