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Hills uses Borges to define traitors

Historical betrayals examined in faculty lecture.

Michael Escañuelas
Staff Writer

Ann Hills delved into the mind of a traitor with her lecture on author Jorge Luis Borges Monday in the President’s Dining Room.

Hills, an associate professor of Spanish, included themes involving the identity of the “traitor” within Borges’ works throughout the lecture.

“I felt that he was one of the most influential writers,” Hills said. “And I felt the ‘traitor’ theme has been neglected.”

Hills began her presentation by defining the theme of betrayal in Borges’ works.

She detailed the author’s history and his experience with the topic and how they might have influenced his art.

“I like how passionate she is about him,” said Bridget Henry, freshman math and English major. “She sees a theme within his work that no one else does.”

After briefly laying out definitions that would be used in the lecture, Hills began to point out the many faces of betrayal within history, placing them along side Borges’ works.

She used a slide show displaying pictures of famous traitors like Judas, the famous traitor of Jesus Christ, and Brutus and Cassius, of the Shakespeare play, “Julius Caesar.”

“Borges is part of every class whether directly or by influence,” Hills said.

Hills said that within Borges’ narrative he betrayed the reader by writing ‘literary hoaxes,’ which involved the narrator of the story betraying the reader.

“It is really elegant that he was writing about the importance of betrayal while he was betraying all he was writing to,” said Marcella Marquez, a junior English major.

Hills continued her lecture by defining the many ways that Borges displays the act of betrayal with his characters.

Some of these methods included withholding truth or revealing truth, failure to act, and defection.

She used Borges’ short story, “Story of the Warrior and the Captive Maiden” which was a comparison of two characters that engaged in the act of betrayal.

She described the comparison that Borges lays out in the story of two characters that have similar themes of betrayal, but received different reactions.

“His texts are short, but you can write volumes on his stories,” Hills said.

“I thought I could do this story justice and it had an interesting dynamic,” she added.

The lecture concluded with some reflections concerning the receipt of betrayal.

Once Hills was finished with her lecture she proceeded with answering questions from the audience.

“These lectures are always very interesting,” said Sean Dillon, assistant professor of theater arts.

“You get a glimpse into someone’s research and an author’s work.”

Hills’ lecture was presented as part of the ongoing Faculty Lecture Series.

Michael Escañuelas can be reached at

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