La voz del silencio femenino en la poesía de Marjorie Agosín / by Dolores M. Durán-Cerda.
This dissertation is a close thematic and theoretical study of the function and effect of multifaceted silence as manifested by a chorus of female voices in several poems by the contemporary Chilean-American writer Marjorie Agosín. The investigation, which focuses on five collections of her poetry published between 1984 and 1994, explores the power of silence by considering the development of imposed and self-imposed silence that reflects on stereotypes, taboos and censorship. In turn, this process reveals how women in traditional representations have been silenced by social, cultural and/or political constraints. This study traces the evolution of various and diverse female voices who speak freely and openly of their personal existential situations which, in turn, reflect, encarnate, and finally create the collective female experience as women learn to shatter silence and be heard in their own way and with their own voices. Chapter one examines female representations from fairy tales and folklore in Brujas y algo más (1984). Agosín revises these female characters and their actions and language so that all break with the traditional roles assigned to them thereby assuming their own identity and voice. The critical ideas of Alicia Ostricker form the theoretical foundation used to illustrate how revising myths may serve as an instrument to dismantle old female stereotypes and instead create new and authentic female representations. The testimonial voices from dictatorships in Chile and Argentina depicted in Las zonas del dolor (1988) and Círculos de locura: Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (1992) are studied in chapter two. The analysis focuses on how these female voices speak to the silence of their forgotten existence as victims of death, disappearances, torture and sexual terrorism and express personal and collective loss. The theoretical works of Elaine Scarry and Ximena Bunster help demonstrate the physical and psychological effects suffered by silenced political prisoners and the mothers who search for them. Female erotic self-expression in Hogueras (1990) is the focus of chapter three. Employing the theoretical concepts of Hélene Cixous and Alicia Ostricker, the study shows the manner in which Agosín’s intensely provocative and impassioned language gives voice to silences stemming from socio-cultural taboos and self-imposed censorship. Thus, by taking control of their sexuality these voices take control of female expression as each freely explores female as self. In the fourth and final chapter of this dissertation, imposed and self-imposed silence in Dear Anne Frank (1994) is studied. Here Agosín’s female voices enter into an epistolary dialogue with the young girl in order to reconstruct Jewish memory and the Holocaust. The critical ideas of Rachel Feldhay Brenner, Andrew Vogel Ettin, Dori Laub and André Neher inform the discussion. In sum, Agosín’s poetry uses the symbolic geography of zones, circles, bodies, photographs and diaries to break the limits of female silence. By revising the representation of woman, the poet gives her a new and powerful voice. This in turn allows a collaborative effort between Agosín and her readers to participate fully in the personal and collective female expression and experience.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:47:00
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