Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences


Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Carvalho


This dissertation analyzes the representation of violence in Colombian novels and films from the last two decades of the XX century. Aided by current theories of violence and representation on the one hand, and an interdisciplinary methodology that analyses the phenomenon of the violence of drug trafficking from different perspectives on the other, my analysis examines the challenges and limits of literary and cinematic representation as it grapples with the extreme realities of life in Colombia’s major cities. The central body of my thesis focuses on three novels and two films, selected for the marked differences that inform their generic form, their style and their approach to representation as testimony. By focusing on the differences in these works, I further examine how different genres and subgenres help reveal, distort, or obscure the extreme realities these novels and films strive to portray.

Chapter two provides the historical and theoretical context for violence and drug traffic in Colombia. Chapter three studies the different narrative strategies used in the literary works that fall under the so-called drug traffic genre. Chapter four analyses the role of the intellectual narrator on La virgen de los sicarios who presents himself as the new authority, called to restore the lost order left by drug trafficker terrorists and their sicarios. Chapter five studies the impact of drug trafficking in the aristocratic world. On Delirio, the apparent madness of the protagonist unmasks the obscure world of high society, a world lead by corruption, complicities, and lies to maintain their economic status. Chapter six analyses Comandante Paraíso and the role of the main character as the new drug lord, who has built an empire based on a network of power, money, and loyalty to maintain order. Chapter seven compares La virgen de los sicarios and Rosario Tijeras and their adaptations to film.

The literary works and films analyzed have nourished on the complex reality of extreme violence lived under the drug trafficking era. They explore how this violence has roots in political, economic, and social problems, and the importance of finding a viable solution for this national issue.



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