This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Drugs, Sex, Food, Alcohol, and Revenge: the Motivating Forces in the Pursuit of Pleasure in Alacranes en su tinta by Juan Bas




Warner, Rachel

Type of Degree



Foreign Language and Literature


At the core of Basque author Juan Bas’s novel, Alacranes en su tinta, is the incessant pursuit of pleasurable experiences involving food, drugs, alcohol, sex, and revenge. Each element serves as a source of pleasure for Bas’s main characters, Pacho and Asti, and their interactions with these elements direct the overall development of the plotline on various levels from beginning to end. This thesis looks at the interaction of these elements and the psychological explanation behind their motivation and pleasure-producing capacities. It incorporates historical conceptual understandings as well as the advances being made in the field of Neuroscience in relation to our understanding of the human psyche, the experience of pleasure, and motivation. Within each dedicated sub-chapter for the five pleasure-producing elements, the actions taken by the characters Pacho and Asti are examined through these theoretical perspectives while discussing their impact and importance to the development of the plotline. During this process, a notable transition occurs in how pleasure is derived from each element – ranging from a purely biological explanation to one that focuses on the psychological aspects of our experience of pleasure. The examination of these themes transforms Bas’s work into a springboard for further study related to the interaction between the chemical and cognitive components of human motivation and the experience of pleasure and may serve to establish connections and correlations between current cultural trends within Basque, Spanish, and Western societies.