Over Our Dead Bodies: Emilia Pardo Bazan, Rosario Ferre, and the Feminine Fantastic

B. T. Scoular
2008 Forum for Modern Language Studies  
This article examines how the nineteenth-century Spanish author Emilia Pardo Bazán and the twentieth-century Puerto Rican writer Rosario Ferré employ the fantastic's "hesitation" between natural and supernatural events to encourage the reader to pause and reflect upon the objectification of females and the closing of narratives over their dead bodies. In the stories studied, Pardo Bazán's "El destripador de antaño" ("The Ripper of Yesteryear", 1900), and Ferré's "La muñeca menor" ("The Youngest
more » ... Doll", 1976) and "La bella durmiente" ("Sleeping Beauty", 1976), the two authors employ a strikingly similar strategy to question men's figurations of the feminine: they take a prevalent literary image of women as inanimate beings (as a cadaver and as a doll, respectively) and complicate this image in such a way that they undermine the idea of passivity that informs the male writer's representation of females. In the process, they call into question both the masculine underpinnings of the aesthetics they engage (of naturalism and the fantastic) and the authority of various male figures (doctors, priests, fathers and husbands) who consider control over women's bodies their natural right.
doi:10.1093/fmls/cqn058 fatcat:uimiczarcbduvgruit4uah5qkm