Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

La mujer frente al espejo: La representación de la edad de la mujer en cuentos de escritoras españolas del siglo XXI

Garbine Vidal-Torreira, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Little investigation has been done in literature on the relationship between sex, age and agency. This dissertation examines the representation of women's age and the effect it has in their agency in short stories written by Spanish women authors of the 21st century. It is difficult to categorize with absolute exactitude something as subjective as age because it goes hand in hand with the internal growth of the individual, which is why the exact age of characters is not what is important in this research, but rather the age group to which they belong. Under this predicament, I propose making the following division of the stages of life: childhood, adolescence, youth, middle age and old age. In this same manner, I am dividing this dissertation into five chapters focusing on the literary figures of the child, the teenager, the young woman in her thirties ("treintañera"), the woman in her forties ("cuarentañera" o "cuarentona") and the elderly woman. Through the short stories I analyze—written by Lucía Etxebarria, Espido Freire, Nuria Barrios, Marta Rivera de la Cruz, Ángela Valvey, Clara Sánchez, Beatriz Gimeno, Pilar Bellver, Karmele Jaio and Esther Tusquets—it becomes apparent that age does affect the characters' agency and, in some cases, limits it. With the exception of Jaio, the younger authors present young characters that lay out the issue of patriarchy, but don't offer solutions, whereas the older authors introduce older characters who either openly criticize patriarchal society or propose solutions to the problems that a phallocentric society poses. These women authors use mechanisms such as metaphors, humor, irony and silences to offer their particular view of patriarchy, creating through their literature a unique perspective of the important role that age plays in the literary representation of women's agency.

Subject Area

Modern language|Romance literature|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Vidal-Torreira, Garbine, "La mujer frente al espejo: La representación de la edad de la mujer en cuentos de escritoras españolas del siglo XXI" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3558633.