The representation of motherhood in contemporary Catalan fiction

2011 2011

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Abstract (summary)

This dissertation analyzes four twenty-first-century Catalan novels which present the complex positions occupied by mothers in the last seven decades. Its conceptual framework posits motherhood as both a changing social construction and a political institution in a constant state of flux. In Inma Monsó´s Todo un carácter (2001), Eva Piquer´s Una victoria diferente (2002), Carme Riera´s La mitad del alma (2004), and Najat El Hachmi´s El último patriarca (2008) motherhood is explored as a metaphorical act, a gender-constructing experience, as well as the locus of expression with regard to gender and power relations. During the dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939–1975), the majority of women were excluded from public spaces, and forced to stay home to care for their husbands and children. Furthermore, the state criminalized abortion, made contraception and divorce illegal, and promoted an ideal of femininity based on silence, sacrifice, and self-denial. The political changes of the late 1970s allowed women greater personal autonomy, and many women writers began to challenge stereotypical views of women’s social roles. Yet in the 70s and 80s, the narratives of Esther Tusquets, Ana María Moix, and Montserrat Roig represent the mother as a repressive figure whom the daughter must reject in order to liberate herself and regain her voice. It is not until the 90s when the novelists Mercedes Abad, Maruja Torres, Carme Riera, Imma Monsó, Eva Piquer, and María Barbal rehumanize the mother figure, recovering their matrilineal heritage. However, far from suggesting a unified trend in representations of motherhood in Catalan fiction, the diverse points of view of the novels under discussion here reveal that differences in attitudes among women authors about mother-daughter conflict are far from resolved.

The theoretical background for this dissertation draws mainly on the work of Adrienne Rich, Nancy Chodorow, and Julia Kristeva. It includes psychoanalytic studies as well as sociologically based essays by Anna López Puig, Amparo Acereda, Jacqueline Cruz, Barbara Zecchi, Ángeles de la Concha, and Raquel Osborne, among others.

Indexing (details)

Modern literature;
Romance literature;
Womens studies
0298: Modern literature
0313: Romance literature
0453: Womens studies
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Language, literature and linguistics; Catalan; El Hachmi, Najat; Monso, Inma; Motherhood; Piquer, Eva; Riera, Carme; Spain
The representation of motherhood in contemporary Catalan fiction
Folch, Ausenda
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 73/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Gomez, Asuncion
Florida International University
University location
United States -- Florida
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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