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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Violence Within and the Violence Without: “La noche en blanco” by Reina Roffé

  • Author(s): Robinson, Cheri
  • et al.

On the surface, “La noche en blanco” is the story of a young girl whose mother is taken by men in the night moments after she leaves her with an elderly stranger who lives across the hall. The old woman is led to reflect on her past as she spends the night awake with the young girl who, by morning’s light, will likely have no one to shelter her from the terrors of the street or the State because it seems certain that the old woman will again flee the violence and pain within herself and without her walls. However, buried within the story itself is the transnational exploration of a repeated or recycled violence, the traumatic memories it engenders across time, and the appearance of the Holocaust as a historical/cultural referent. This analysis aims to explore these elements buried at the heart of the story. The complex associations created by Roffé’s text revolve around the juxtaposition of an old woman’s traumatic past in Vichy France (1940-1944) with a young girl’s trauma-in-the-making in Buenos Aires during the Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983).

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