Mujeres que matan: representaciones letales en la narrativa mexicana
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Mujeres que matan: representaciones letales en la narrativa mexicana

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In this study, I examine mythological, historical, and literary representations of killer women, beginning with the iconic transgressive female figures that are Medea, Clytemnestra, and Elektra in classical literature. Then, I consider three historical women made famous due to killings connected directly or indirectly to her: Salomé (flourished1st Century CE), Charlotte de Corday (1768-1793), and Mata Hari (1876-1917). The last two chapters begin by, first, delineating two narratives focused on killer women in 19th century Mexican literature to then specifically examine different narratives in Mexican literature and expose the different themes and tropes that authors such as María Luisa Puga, Amparo Dávila, and Elena Poniatowska deploy throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The study seeks to show the different representations of killer women in literature, the visual arts, theater, and other cultural productions. It aims to show the impact killer women since memorial times and still continue to have in our contemporary society. Chapter 1 explores the impact that killer women have had since their origin, meaning to display the foundation killer women have had, even in mythological stories and tragedies written thousands of years ago. By offering the power and influence of three killer women: Medea, Clytemnestra, and Elektra, and their representations throughout time; this study creates a foundation of killer women since the contemporary characters that I examine cannot be separated from the role played by Medea, Clytemnestra and Elektra in our cultural imaginary as demonstrated by the many cultural productions throughout the centuries in literature and the arts. Chapter 2 bridges the gap between the real and the fictional stories and narratives created around killer women. By examining three women: Salomé, Charlotte de Corday, and Mata Hari, and the legacy they left behind in our culture, we can see the fictional and different representations that happen after the imaginary distorts and becomes the owner of these women’s stories. As it is known, a lot of the stories about killer women are exaggerated or create other narratives based on their crimes. This chapter focuses on what is real and what is fiction, including what was exaggerated. In chapter 3, we bridge the gap between fictitious, confirmed cases and mythological narratives by paying attention to the different fictitious narratives created around killer women in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. After discussing the 19th century narratives, it focuses on the short story “Emma Zunz” (19) by Jorge Luis Borges, which attests to the relationship between contemporary literature and Greek tragedies. It also offers the different types of womanhood depicted within these narratives, which women were allowed to kill and their destiny. In the end, it shows the actual cases of killer women narrated in the form of chronicles. This is done to create a path of storylines and set the relevance of women killer’s narratives within Mexican literature. Chapter 4 focuses on three different famous real-life cases in Mexico which were transformed into fictional narratives in film and literature. The first case is about Elvira Luz Cruz, a mother of four who killed her children. The narratives analyzed about this event show the scenarios leading Elvira to kill her offspring. The second case depicts that of las Poquianchis, three successful entrepreneur sisters with multiple prostitution establishments in Guanajuato, Mexico. Their story was exaggerated beyond repair; thus, they ended up in jail for “killing” several prostitutes and violating specific laws prohibiting prostitution. The last case shows how the hyperviolent State of Mexico has sadly transcended gender barriers by creating vigilantes and “sicarias” (paid assassins). This study investigates the representation, subjectivity, and identity of killer women within different scopes: the mythological, the real and within literature, particularly within Mexican narratives. We create a guide through time and different events that are relevant to the character of the killer women; it shows the different approaches authors and cultural creators take toward the representation, and the subjectivity and identity of the killer women. It also states the anxieties and traumas that are created within society after women commit this crime through the representations of their acts. Thus, it contributes to the overall representations of killer women within Mexican literature.

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This item is under embargo until February 7, 2025.