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Hybridity in the Novels of José Donoso, Severo Sarduy, Diamela Eltit, and Pedro Lemebel

Talley, Virginia Burnice
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Talley, Virginia Burnice
Pellón, Gustavo
Lagos, María-Inés
Hill, Ruth
This dissertation examines different manifestations of hybridity in the novels of José Donoso, Severo Sarduy, Diamela Eltit, and Pedro Lemebel. The hybrid notions that I focus on are related to race, culture, religion, gender, class, and language. By employing hybrid language and/or hybrid subjects these authors challenge binary categories, erase established boundaries, and push the limits of what traditional societies consider "normal" and/or acceptable. My first chapter analyzes two novels that depict the maltreatment of hybrid characters who do not adhere to "normal" gender and sexual expectations. José Donoso's El lugar sin limites represents the mistreatment of those who fall outside of traditional family and religious values in a rural Chilean town of the mid-twentieth century. Pedro Lemebel's Tengo miedo torero portrays the abuse of a homosexual transvestite in Santiago, Chile towards the end of Pinochet's dictatorship. My second chapter focuses on hybrid culture and race as I explore Severo Sarduy's De donde son los cantantes as a parodic treatment of Cuba as a mixture of Spanish, African, and Chinese heritage. Sarduy uses humor, exaggeration, irony, and parody to make fun of the idea that any identity can be defined. Chapter three examines Sarduy's Cobra in terms of binary categories between the East and the West, the sacred and the profane, and female and male. While the first half of the novel revolves around Sarduy' s exaggeration of cultural, religious, and gender differences, the second half deconstructs these distinctions and advocates for more hybrid categories. Finally, my examination of Diamela Eltit's Por la patria focuses on linguistic, racial, and gender hybridity. The protagonist's hybrid qualities become evident through her mixture of informal and elegant speech patterns and her refusal to adhere to overly simplistic categories of race and gender. I have approached these texts using several perspectives, including feminist, queer, and postcolonial theory. All of these theories focus on the repression of groups that have been silenced by those in power. I attempt to show a new way of looking at these texts through the lens of hybridity in order to reveal the different mixtures produced by cultural contact.
University of Virginia, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2007
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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