Paz Marquez Benitez has exemplified the presence of psyche in her brilliant short story, Dead Stars. It presents a prevalent struggle of love in the time that it is certain and still as it exists in two worlds; a world in the commune of conventions and expectations and a world that is unimpeded by the first. Psyche as ‘faculty of human thought, judgment, and emotion’ (Saunders, 2007) could be elaborately described in the persona of Alfredo Salazar who was to be wedded with Esperanza. His untimely meeting with Julia Salas had provoked a seemingly temporary liking towards her at first, posed subliminal and fleeting emotions that caused him to be caught in a stir. Bound by a devoir that he felt not just to Esperanza but to his family and to people who knew them, he married his fiancé, but remained far and deep in his unwavering thoughts of Julia Salas. How his decision was made could not be ostracized in the presence of customs and conventions of his time (mores). His engagement with Esperanza funnelled into crowding bourgeois opinions and imperatives from people who knew them, thus, kept their relationship narrow and mindful of what others might think of them. This is evident in Alfredo’s argument with Esperanza about her sister, Calixta. The pressure of the news about her sister living with someone when the two were not married evinced on their status as an engaged couple that was slowly turning into a dysfunctional one.
Dead Stars reflects a socio cultural factor that does not alter but organically contributes to our being, and as it gradually changes over time, we inextricably adapt to it. In the end, the staggering feeling of Alfredo in realizing that his love towards Julia Salas was lost when they met years after they parted ways, divulges his unconscious fitting in time as he was consciously thinking about his love for her; it was a non-progressing feeling as what was left to him was just a memory of his passion and his youth shared with Julia Salas.