Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Los Bildungsromane Femeninos De Carmen Boullosa Y Sandra Cisneros: Mexicanidades, Fronteras, Puentes

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Los Bildungsromane Femeninos De Carmen Boullosa Y Sandra Cisneros: Mexicanidades, Fronteras, Puentes

Article excerpt

YOLANDA MELGAR PERnÍAS, Los Bildung- sromane femeninos de Carmen Boullosa y Sandra Cisneros: mexicanidades, fronteras, puentes. woodbridge, Uk, and Rochester, NY: Tamesis. 2012. 257 pp. ISBN 978 1 85566 234 6.

Yolanda Melgar Pernías's monograph examines coming-of-age texts written by two women, the Mexican author Carmen Boullosa, and the Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros. The monograph focuses on five novels: Mejor desaparece (1987), Antes (1989) and Treinta años (1999) by Boullosa; and The House on Mango Street (1983) and Caramelo (2002) by Cisneros. The text is divided into an introduction and five chapters; the fifth chapter is the conclusion, which Pernías ironically titles 'Inconclusiones'.

In the introduction to her text, Melgar Pernías explains her purpose, which she describes as an attempt to bridge the differ- ences between Mexican and Chicana women through an exploration of novels written by two authors whose works are well known on both sides of the border. She also gives biographical information for each author, as well as a rough outline of what is in each of the five chapters in the book.

Chapter one focuses on the Bildung- sroman, in particular as it pertains to women. The chapter lays out the differences between coming-of-age novels written by women and traditional Bildungsromane, which, she points out, depict the experience of a male protagonist. After establishing the founda- tion for modifications to the traditional, male version of the genre, the chapter delves into the question of female subjectivity and its connection to what Melgar Pernías terms 'positionality'. The last part of the chapter explores the divergence in positionality among Mexican women and their Chicana counterparts, as well as commonalities that arise due to being rooted in Mexican culture.

The second chapter concentrates on how identity is configured in the texts, taking into account cultural underpinnings related to female subjectivity within Mexican society. Melgar Pernías refers to traditional roles for women through the prism of the Virgin of Guadalupe-La Malinche dichotomy. The author notes that while this dichotomy informs female subjectivity in both the Chicana and the Mexican experiences, discrepancies result from the position of subalternity experienced by Chicana authors as opposed to the normative status of Mexican writers, whose position in society is that of a member of the hegemonic class. …

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