Title

Looking at Life through Mirrors and Windows: Ana Maria Matute's Demonios familiares

Subject Area

Spanish Peninsular Studies

Abstract

Readers of Ana María Matute will indeed find many demonios familiares in this aptly named posthumous unfinished novel as the prolific Spanish writer returned one last time to treat themes that had repeatedly haunted her works: the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood, dysfunctional families, the Spanish Civil war, alienation, and betrayal. Playing on the dual meaning of familiar, Matute creates a house populated with memorable yet troubled individuals each controlled by some shadowy past trauma that persists as a personal demon. Eva, the narrator and protagonist, confronts the liminal hollow between adolescence and adulthood just as the civil war begins in the company of these stricken relatives--an invalid but tyrannical father who watches the world as it is reflected in a mirror, a half-brother forever reduced to the status of a servant, and a deceased grandmother who continues to exert her control over Eva as an apparition or as eyes in a portrait capable of spying on her. Despite its truncated ending due to Matute’s death, the novel merits attention. This paper will focus on

Eva’s growing awareness of the magnitude of her own social, political and sexual innocence and her struggle to become a woman having been raised in an oppressive atmosphere of secrets and suffering. The civil war, although experienced mostly as a series of disturbing sounds in the distance, will be shown to serve nevertheless as an important catalyst in Eva’s journey to understanding herself and her world.

Brief Bio Note

Debra C. Ames is an Associate Professor at Valparaiso University (Indiana) with joint appointments in Foreign Languages and International Studies. She teaches Spanish and chairs the program in International Economics and Cultural Affairs. Her research and teaching interests include Peninsular literature and human rights literature of Latin American.

Keywords

Ana Maria Matute, 21st century Spanish literature, Literature of Spanish Civil War, Female bildungsroman

Location

Room 210

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-27-2015 1:30 PM

End Date

3-27-2015 2:45 PM

Embargo

5-23-2017

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Mar 27th, 1:30 PM Mar 27th, 2:45 PM

Looking at Life through Mirrors and Windows: Ana Maria Matute's Demonios familiares

Room 210

Readers of Ana María Matute will indeed find many demonios familiares in this aptly named posthumous unfinished novel as the prolific Spanish writer returned one last time to treat themes that had repeatedly haunted her works: the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood, dysfunctional families, the Spanish Civil war, alienation, and betrayal. Playing on the dual meaning of familiar, Matute creates a house populated with memorable yet troubled individuals each controlled by some shadowy past trauma that persists as a personal demon. Eva, the narrator and protagonist, confronts the liminal hollow between adolescence and adulthood just as the civil war begins in the company of these stricken relatives--an invalid but tyrannical father who watches the world as it is reflected in a mirror, a half-brother forever reduced to the status of a servant, and a deceased grandmother who continues to exert her control over Eva as an apparition or as eyes in a portrait capable of spying on her. Despite its truncated ending due to Matute’s death, the novel merits attention. This paper will focus on

Eva’s growing awareness of the magnitude of her own social, political and sexual innocence and her struggle to become a woman having been raised in an oppressive atmosphere of secrets and suffering. The civil war, although experienced mostly as a series of disturbing sounds in the distance, will be shown to serve nevertheless as an important catalyst in Eva’s journey to understanding herself and her world.