Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version



Iberoamericana, XVI, 62 (2016), 131-147

DOI: 10.18441/ibam.16.2016.62.131-147




This article analyzes the interconnections between migration and masculinity in Vida de un emigrante español (1979), by Víctor Canicio. This novel, based on true events, tells the story of a working-class man called Pedro Nuño, who displays a traditional conception of masculinity based on the importance of the heteronormative home, procreation, and sacrifice for his family. Pedro decides to migrate to Germany to achieve a better future for his family and feel more respected as a man by earning money and accomplishing economic independence. In this way, migration enhances his sense of masculinity. On the other hand, the novel also shows that migration may negatively affect men’s traditional ideas of masculinity. Pedro and other male characters feel discriminated against and exploited in their jobs, lose their libidos, and experience insecurity, nostalgia and insanity. Finally, another consequence of migration is a slight change in the main character’s conception of gender roles, since he ends up supporting a more egalitarian relationship with his wife.