Title

The Nappy Prison: Hair Texture and Shame in Francisco Arriví’s Los Vejigantes and Carmen Montañez’s Pelo Malo

Subject Area

Afro-Hispanic Studies

Abstract

For many individuals of African ancestry in the United States, there is a preoccupation with hair texture and a desire to obscure one’s natural curly (nappy) hair. It is clear that such thinking is one of the many legacies of Colonialism. My paper will look at the discussion of hair texture and the shame that it causes in the literary works of two Puerto Rican writers: Francisco Arriví’s drama Los Vejigantes (1957) and Carmen Montañez’s novel entitled Pelo Malo (Bad Hair) (2009). Both writers use there texts to address a theme that is complex and requires close analysis to understand. Both works reveal how the female protagonists are forced to free themselves from their self-imposed prisons caused by their preoccupation with “controlling” their hair. These literary vehicles allow the audience to witness the self-destructive behaviors that some Puerto Ricans go through to feel accepted by others and comfortable with themselves. These works are valuable tools in allowing the reader to understand the parallel between African Americans in the United States and their cohorts in Puerto Rico.

Brief Bio Note

Dr. Thomas Wayne Edison is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at the university of Louisville, Louisville, KY. He graduated from the Universityof Kentuckywith a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature in 2002. His research areas include Afro-Caribbean literature and culture (especially African-influenced religious cultures in contemporary the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Latin America). He is currently conducting research on Afro-Caribbean spirituality in North American cinema.

Keywords

Puerto Rico, Internalized racism, Hair texture, Francisco Arriví

Location

Room 212

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-27-2015 10:30 AM

End Date

3-27-2015 11:45 AM

Embargo

5-23-2017

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 27th, 10:30 AM Mar 27th, 11:45 AM

The Nappy Prison: Hair Texture and Shame in Francisco Arriví’s Los Vejigantes and Carmen Montañez’s Pelo Malo

Room 212

For many individuals of African ancestry in the United States, there is a preoccupation with hair texture and a desire to obscure one’s natural curly (nappy) hair. It is clear that such thinking is one of the many legacies of Colonialism. My paper will look at the discussion of hair texture and the shame that it causes in the literary works of two Puerto Rican writers: Francisco Arriví’s drama Los Vejigantes (1957) and Carmen Montañez’s novel entitled Pelo Malo (Bad Hair) (2009). Both writers use there texts to address a theme that is complex and requires close analysis to understand. Both works reveal how the female protagonists are forced to free themselves from their self-imposed prisons caused by their preoccupation with “controlling” their hair. These literary vehicles allow the audience to witness the self-destructive behaviors that some Puerto Ricans go through to feel accepted by others and comfortable with themselves. These works are valuable tools in allowing the reader to understand the parallel between African Americans in the United States and their cohorts in Puerto Rico.