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The Unwilling Orphan: Trauma and the Decaying Bourgeoisie in Los soles truncos


In “The Unwilling Orphan:  Trauma and the Decaying Bourgeoisie in Los soles truncos,” I argue that traumatized orphans participate in their own alienation because they eschew societal transformations that weaken the colonial class status that they covet.  That is, they further fragment society since they elect precisely not to belong. René Marqués’s Los soles truncos (1958) utilizes traumatized orphans of the decaying bourgeoisie to criticize what the author perceives to be an oppressive U.S. regime in Puerto Rico.  Herein I question Valérie Loichot’s notion that orphans create their own narratives because of their lack of genealogical roots.  Because of trauma, the orphan protagonists in Los soles truncos adhere to a master narrative by favoring an outdated colonial mindset.  Afraid to relinquish their privilege, the criollo protagonists cannot promote racial equality and economic betterment for Afro-Puerto Ricans which exposes the folly of “oneness” in Puerto Rico.  In that vein, Marqués’s orphans function as metaphorical bridges between cultural and personal trauma to engage the reader on an empathetic individual level that expands to a societal level in which solely the bourgeoisie is victimized despite their history as aggressors.  By making the trauma exclusive to one class and race, hatred spreads towards other sectors which results in disjointed sectors sharing an island, but in isolation of one another.

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