In Search of Identity: A Slave, a Half-Blood, a Senhora
- УДК / UDK: 82(091)
- About the author:
Elena Ogneva (PhD, leading research fellow; Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia)
- Abstract: The present article is devoted to the study of the genesis of the “strong woman” type in Latin American prose. It shows that this type, traditionally associated with the modern novel, has appeared in the literature of the continent as early as in the XIX century. The analysis of female images created in the cult novels of leading Latin American writers (an Argentinean José Mármol, a Cuban Cirilo Villaverde and Brazilian Bernardo Guimarães and José de Alencar) during the period of formation of young nations, allows to conclude that they bear the imprint of a chaotic contradiction -based reality. There is a pattern performed by the “strong” female characters of the analyzed novels, marked by the features of social, gender, and racial hybridity; in search of their identity they assert themselves in one way or another in the world of men. The article examines various means via which the characters manage to acquire their own identity, be it dissociation from the civilizing principle, unwillingness or inability to recognize their own “roots”, or “self -actualization” attempts of a talented person. Thus, María Josefa Ezcurra in Amalia by Mármol and Aurelia in Senhora by Alencar – each in her own way – become “men in women’s guise”: the image of the former embodies the “barbaric” essence of young Argentina; the image of the latter embodies “masculine” pragmatism of the transitional era in Brazil. The daring and self -willed Cecilia Valdés from Villaverde's eponymous novel, the “victim” and “executioner” of a white man, painfully realizes her place in the mestizo society of colonial Cuba, passions and vices of which have determined her character. At the bottom of this scale of self -determination in prose of period there is a slave, as it is illustrated in Bernardo Guimarães’s novel Isaura, The Slave Girl.
- Keywords: Latin American prose, romanticism, female images, José Mármol, Cirilo Villaverde, José de Alencar, Bernardo Guimarães, racial identity, gender identity.
[Álvarez -Amell 2000] – Álvarez -Amell, D. “Las dos caras de Cecilia Valdés: entre el romanticismo y el nacionalismo cubano.” Hispania 83:1 (2000): 1 –10.
Bashkova, E.V. “Obraz Pramateri – La Malinche v meksikanskoi literature vtoroy poloviny ХХ veka.” [“The Image of Foremother – La Malinche in the Mexican Literature of the Second Half of the 20th Century.”] Vestnik URAO 3 (2015): 107 –112. (In Russ.)
Bashkova, E.V. “Mifoobraz Evity Peron v argentinskoi kul’ture i literature XX –XXI vv.” [“The Mythoimage of Evita Peron in Argentine Culture and Literature of the XX –XXI Centuries.”] Vestnik Voronezhskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta 10 (2016): 5 –9. (In Russ.)
[Cámara 1999] – Cámara, M. “La mulata, un cuerpo sin voz en la cultura cubana.” La Palabra y el Hombre. Revista de la Universidad Veracruzana 109 (1999): 75 –81.
[Di Meglio 2006] – Di Meglio, M. “Miradas complementarias: lecturas y relecturas de Amalia.” Espéculo. Revista de estudios literarios 33 (2006). Online at http://www.ucm.es/info/especulo/numero33/amalia.html
Girin, Yu.N. “Literatura Venesuely. Literatura Kolumbii.” [“Literature of Venezuela. Literature of Colombia.”] Istoriia literatur Latinskoi Ameriki [The History of the Literature of Latin America]. Vol. 4, p. 2. Moscow: IMLI RAN Publ., 2004: 5 –134. (In Russ.)
[Granja Tigre Lima 2019] – Granja, L.; Tigre Lima, L. “Ideas no lugar: Senhora de José de Alencar.” Alea 21:3 (sept./dec. 2019): 49 –63.
Kuteishchikova, V.N., Terterian, I.A. “Formirovanie natsional'nykh literatur Latinskoi Ameriki i romantizm” [“Formation of National Literatures of Latin America and Romanticism.”] Formirovanie natsional'nykh literatur Latinskoi Ameriki [Formation of National Literatures of Latin America], ed. V.N. Kuteishchikova. Moscow: Nauka Publ., 1970: 3 –35. (In Russ.)
Mármol, J. Amalia [Amalia]. Moscow: GIHKL Publ., 1961. (In Russ.)
Ogneva, E.V. “Sen’ora i ee belyi rab” [“Senhora and Her Slave.”] Alencar, J. Sen’ora [Senhora]. Moscow: Ridero Publ., 2020: 11 –19. (In Russ.)