Abstract for 2008 Honors Colloquium

Patricia Nelson

Women's Studies

"Rewriting Myth: New Interpretations of La Malinche, La Llorona, and La Virgen de Guadalupe in Chicana Feminist Literature"

La Malinche, the Mayan translator for Cortes; La Llorona, the mythic figure of the 'crying woman;' and La Virgen de Guadalupe, an icon of the Catholic Church in Mexico, are often considered to be the three iconic figures which shape images and expectations of women in Chicano culture. My thesis will look at the different ways that the writings of contemporary Chicana feminist authors Gloria Anzaldua, Cherrie Moraga, Ana Castillo, and Sandra Cisneros are reinterpreting and reclaiming these figures. Through their essays, plays, and novels, these authors complicate myths, challenging and subverting the traditional female archetypes of virgin, mother, and whore.