Catalan Women Writers and Artists: Revisionist Views from a Feminist Space

By Kathryn A. Everly | Go to book overview

Conclusion

This World is not Conclusion.

A Species stands beyond—

Invisible, as Music—

But positive, as Sound—

Emily Dickinson

Gender exile as seen in the works of varo, rodoreda, roig, and Riera refers to the alienation of an individual from her surroundings. I have demonstrated through close textual analyses the various ways in which these women approach their situation as an outsider looking into the patriarchal construct of language, which in turn maintains certain social institutions such as marriage, family, motherhood, and authorship. Despite the imposed disciplinary differences between art and literature, I have shown how Varo and Rodoreda both use ideas of confinement and escape to express their individual journeys of exile. The most subversive link between the two lies in their use of metamorphosis as a way to strip a character of gender and permit an exploration of alternative lands and experiences. Just as Natalià from Rodoreda’s La placa del Diamant suffers from intense neurosis when enclosed in her own home and relates to the walls that surround her as a defining part of her experience, Varo’s figure in Double Agent faces the wall unable to confront the mounting sexual tension in the room. These are the metaphorical walls that both women will break down in an attempt to define a feminine voice from a marginalized position. Both women seem to find a temporary answer to patriarchal demands through laughter. At the end of El carrer de les camèlies, Rodoreda’s protagonist Cecilia confronts her own fears of abandonment with shared laughter. Varo’s humorous nods at the school of surrealists, who nurtured her artistic talent from a respectable distance because she was Benjamin Péret’s mistress, take form in her paintings that mock the psychoanalytical fervor expressed by the founding members of the movement.

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