Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Carmen Moreno-Nuño

Abstract

During the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, the fear of being denounced and subsequently punished contributed to the social silence that became the norm during Franco´s dictatorship. This was then reinforced during democracy through an implicit pact of oblivion. After the death of Franco, as an attempt to avoid reopening wounds, successive democratic governments decided not to agitate the ghost of the civil war, due to its traumatic nature. The consequence of such a pact of oblivion is the lack of information about the past, continually suffered by subsequent generations. Furthermore, Francoism legally imposed the subordination of women to men in all spheres of life, denying the most basic rights to women as well as their autonomy as individuals. This political and gendered repression resulted in a lack of agency and reinforcement of a patriarchal structure.

Memory Studies has assumed major importance due to the memory boom that has affected Spain since the end of the twentieth century. Twenty-first century literature offers new representations of women which need to be fully studied. This dissertation analyzes four novels that describe, question and expand on different roles for women during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and its aftermath from an interdisciplinary perspective. The main theoretical concepts through which the novels/themes are examined include intersections of gender and power, intersectionality, gendered empowerment, identity, victimization, agency, genocide, gendered punishments, and the deconstruction of the normative gender role through the re-signification of domestic chores. In the selected literary works, female characters are depicted in uncommon scenarios, such as prisons, anti-Francoist guerrilla, exile, and also on the winning Francoist side. Drawing on interdisciplinary frameworks including sociology, literature, and history, my analysis reveals the silenced story of the defeated and its repercussions in the democratic Spain of today.

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