The Ideological Appropriation of La Malinche in Mexican and Chicano Literature

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La Malinche is one of the most controversial figures in Mexican and Chicano literature. The historical facts about her life before and after the Spanish Conquest are largely speculative. What is reliably known is that she had a significant role as translator, which developed into something of mythic proportions. The ideological appropriation of her image by three authors, Octavio Paz, Laura Esquivel and Cherríe Moraga, are explored in this thesis. The full extent of the proposed rendition of La Malinche by Octavio Paz is the basis of the second chapter. The conclusion drawn by Paz, in The Labyrinth of Solitude ... continued below

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Moriel Hinojosa, Rita Daphne August 2013.

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  • Moriel Hinojosa, Rita Daphne

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La Malinche is one of the most controversial figures in Mexican and Chicano literature. The historical facts about her life before and after the Spanish Conquest are largely speculative. What is reliably known is that she had a significant role as translator, which developed into something of mythic proportions. The ideological appropriation of her image by three authors, Octavio Paz, Laura Esquivel and Cherríe Moraga, are explored in this thesis. The full extent of the proposed rendition of La Malinche by Octavio Paz is the basis of the second chapter. The conclusion drawn by Paz, in The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950) is that La Malinche is what he calls la chingada [the raped/violated one] and proposes that all women are always open to conquest, sexually and otherwise. Laura Esquivel's novel Malinche (2006) is a re-interpretation that focuses on the tongue as the source of power and language as the ultimate source of autonomy for La Malinche. This aspect of La Malinche and the contrast of Paz's understanding are the basis of the third chapter of this thesis. Cherríe Moraga, in Loving in the War Years (1983), proposes that if women are to be traitors, it is not each other that they should betray but their cultural roles as mothers and wives. She writes that in order to avoid being the one who is passively colonized, women often times become el chingón. However, ultimately women are free of these limiting dichotomous roles are able to autonomously define themselves in a way that goes beyond these labels. This is only possible when La Malinche is re-interpreted by these by different authors.

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  • August 2013

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • April 23, 2014, 8:20 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 2:37 p.m.

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Moriel Hinojosa, Rita Daphne. The Ideological Appropriation of La Malinche in Mexican and Chicano Literature, thesis, August 2013; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283831/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .