The World Upside-Down: The Carnivalesque Studio in Entre visillos
IU Journal of Undergraduate Research
Entre visillos by Carmen Martín Gaite follows the lives of several middle-class young women living in Francoist Spain during the nineteen-fifties, portraying the restrictive and conservative confines of both traditional Spanish culture and fascist dictatorship in which these women lived. This essay, however, examines how Martín Gaite uses place and setting to define the characters' behavior and their adherence to norms under Francisco Franco's authoritarian, reactionary rule. Specifically, the
... Specifically, the essay analyzes the spatial conditions for liminal anomie, the temporal dissolution and subversion of norms, in the novel. Through an approximation of Mikhail Bakhtin's carnivalesqueand Michel de Certeau's theory of everyday resistance, I argue that the characters employ tactics of resistance (de Certeau) to establish the bohemian party at the top-floor studio apartment of Yoni, the eccentric artist, as a carnivalesque that acts as a safe haven for anomie, the expression of hidden transcripts (James Scott) that constitute resistance against hegemonic Spanish society, and the reimagination of Spanish identity during the epoch. By studying how the characters stray from norms through their interpersonal relations, absurd values, and paradoxical and parodical behavior, it becomes clear that the studio is a unique, free space for contesting conventions of modesty and patriarchy under the Spanish dictatorship. The inclusion in the novel of such themes as promiscuity, infidelity, and immodest behavior further reveals that Entre visillositself is a carnivalesque work that reimagines the values, norms, and conscience of Spanish society.