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The demythification of traditional female roles in Carmen Boullosa

Catalina Avina, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Carmen Boullosa presents a critique of modern Mexican society in her novels and play through the construction of multidimensional characters. Her protagonists function as voices for a new consideration of traditional female figures and provide a viable approach to understanding the role of the twentieth century Mexican woman. The main focus of this dissertation is to describe how three of Carmen Boullosa's novels and one play provide a new vision for the role of the contemporary Mexican woman. By means of her characters, Carmen Boullosa creates a new space for the twentieth century female Mexican intellectual. In De un Salto descabalga la reina, Cleopatra is one of the narrators that rewrites her own history. The narrational process portrays her not as the vixen that contributes to Marc Anthony's death, but as a strong female role model. Treinta Años is a coming of age novel that portrays a conscientious protagonist, Delmira, who determines her future based on decisions she initiates versus being governed by the society that surrounds her. The play Cocinar Hombres further examines other dimensions of existence outside of the traditional female functions. The final chapter demonstrates how the novel, La Milagrosa dissolves the national image of the virgin. The analyses of Boullosa's three works show how her characters demythify the traditional roles set forth by Mexican patriarchal society: wife, mother, or vixen. All three figures question their fictional worlds, revealing the positive and negative repercussions of being a thinking, questioning, and resolute individual. In each work analyzed, the identity of the narrative voice(s) is not predetermined by cultural or traditional factors. The protagonist develops the ability to "re-write" her authentic experience. The new feminine citizen can act and interpret through Carmen Boullosa's writing another way to be.

Subject Area

Latin American literature|Theater|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Avina, Catalina, "The demythification of traditional female roles in Carmen Boullosa" (2006). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3209278.