The Archive of Speaking/ Silencing in the Latina Borderlands: A Comparative Anzaldúan Approach to Leticia Hernández-Linares’s Mucha Muchacha Too Much Girl and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal’s Beast Meridian
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Foreign Language and Literature
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The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the significance of silence and speaking within the lens of the archive, precisely concentrating on the contributions of Borderlands La Frontera The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa in the 20th century, and exploring two contemporary collections of poems: Mucha Muchacha Too Much Girl (2015) by Leticia Hernández- Linares and Beast Meridian (2017) by Vanessa Angélica Villarreal. In a postmillennial movement, both Latina poets follow a first-generation immigrant perspective, in crisis for remaining in a fluctuating culturally liminal space, where oftentimes they find themselves in the dominant American culture, and other times within their Latinx roots. Their individual roots embody the personal encounter within the liminal cultural, social and political environment they grew up in, whilst challenging gender identities and exploring the survival and strength of immigrants, particularly that of women in a patriarchal society. Leticia Hernández-Linares demonstrates a political passion for cultural roots, while engraving the language of the Salvadoran womanhood to question gendered identities. She performs them through dances, songs and visual props to engage the audience. Vanessa Angélica Villarreal takes a different approach to societal destabilization, constructing a multi-layered story by introducing the voice of a speaker who suffers pain in a culturally displaced world. Villarreal intelligently roots her poetry in the Borderlands, speaking on intimate narratives of generational family trauma at the hands of cultural assimilation. This work proposes to investigate the significance of the unspoken and the spoken on both poetry books. Silence is used to convey an abstinence from speech and other times it is intentionally insisting on a moment of stillness and muteness, while speech is more direct through the contact with the reader through language.