The borderlands : living between archetypes in young adult Chicana literature
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This thesis focuses on two models for Chicana womanhood, which are the La Virgen de Guadalupe archetype and the La Malinche archetype. They are both mythic figures in Mexican culture that are diametrically opposed to one another. La Virgen is the good mother and La Malinche is the bad one. Some of the interventions include identifying the different degrees of liminality (YA lit, Borderlands Theory, and Adolescence). Additionally I close read scenes and look at how actions subvert language that reinforces the archetypes. I also argue that each Estrella and Esperanza seem to be each others' foils in that they are in different environments and have opposing female archetypes as their role model for womanhood, but that they are actually very similar. I look at how they each reject their archetype and end up in the same independent headspace. In chapter one, I ultimately make the argument that because Estrella has no opportunity for material or economic agency, sexual agency because an avenue to explore self sovereignty. And that, in Chapter 2, after being sexually assaulted, Esperanza decides to reject sexual sovereignty in favor of economic independence. She opts to leave the barrio and to pursue education in the hopes of coming back for those "who cannot out." In Chapter Three, I bring the two novels together to talk about hybridity and Anzaldua's "new Mestiza" -- that is, someone who lives in the in-between, who takes from both sides of the dichotomy and who lives for herself. Additionally, both girls straddle the line between girlhood and adulthood in both their ages and their responsibilities. Essentially, the two protagonists are representative of the "new mestiza." Each of them is "outsider within" -- someone who can navigate both the hegemonic culture and the non-hegemonic culture.