Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Advisor/Committee Chair

Ilka Kressner


In this analysis of Cola de lagartija by Luisa Valenzuela and Para que no me olvides by Marcela Serrano, I seek to explore common themes in how gender is represented and its relation with the authoritative discourse of dictatorship. A historic and political review of the rhetoric used by the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships in the 1970s to solidify their totalitarian power and of the strategic reactions of the various women’s organizations that contributed to movements against the dictatorships will reveal various tactics that are also used by Valenzuela and Serrano in their novels in order to dismantle and disarm the patriarchal discourse that reinforces violence against and the secondary social status of women. Like women’s political groups in this era, the authors demonstrate a complicated negotiation between the strategic compliance with and resistance against gender roles in order to reveal not only the hypocrisy and abuses of the dictators themselves, but also the inherent problema with the authoritarian nature of gender relations in their societies as a whole. Some of these strategies involve questioning the lines between apparently strict, binary categories, such as the public and prívate spheres and gender roles; resisting hierarchical relations in the very manner they choose to organize and write their texts; and to actively write and tell their stories in a way that resists the authority and authoritarianism of the word—that is to say, to write with/from/about the body. These ways of examining the relationship between the subjugation of women in a patriarchal system and the repression of the authoritarian state resulted in the development of a feminist consciousness for both actual women’s organizations and women’s literature, a consciousness which calls for the dismantling of both sexism in the political system and authoritarianism in the home in order to liberate the woman as a subject of patriarchal discourse.