(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Casto and Zoraida, two Puerto Rican immigrants living in New York, have been married for nine years and have four children. For two months, Zoraida has acted as if possessed by a demon lover during her sleep. As she moans and mimics sexual behavior in bed, Casto paces the floor in the next room trying not to hear her passionate sounds and vainly trying not to imagine her lascivious gestures. Casto married Zoraida because she was frail, sickly, and somewhat plain, not loud and coarse like other girls. He now believes that his wife’s nightly behavior is lewd and vulgar, not the kind of behavior in which a decent husband and wife should engage. He believes that his wife enjoys her dream sex, and calls her a happy victim, an animal, and a hypocrite.

After telling his parents about how he is being cuckolded by a spirit possessing Zoraida, Casto is urged to take his wife to a spiritualist who can exorcise the demon lover that visits her nightly. Although the spiritualist’s incantation works, Zoraida still does not become the kind of wife Casto wishes to have. Although she is a wonderful housekeeper and a devoted mother, serving dinner on time every night and attending to the children without any problem, whenever Casto approaches her for sex, she sits in a rocking chair and stares into space like a zombie. Casto calls another meeting of the family to help him decide what to do next. His mother, Dona Elvira, thinks that her healthy son is too good for the...

(The entire section is 560 words.)