Department

English: Literature and Writing

Publication Year

2015

Abstract

The paper analyzes the intersecting roles of the characters La Santa, the Penitent and the Mexican national symbol Virgin of Guadalupe within the ubiquitous context of the Santa Teresa (fictional Juarez) femicides central to 2666’s “The Part About the Crimes”. Employing these triangulated figures as a means of organizing an analysis of the otherwise unwieldy and mostly unsolved femicides dually functions to theorize the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as transitional zones indicative of unique and violent forms of cultural production, renegotiation and degeneration contained within the collective femicides. The U.S.-Mexico border uniquely dichotomizes and hybridizes notions of the “First” and “Third” worlds, while the femicide victims are represented as correlative byproducts of sociocultural, -economic and national determinism from within and without the defined parameters of Mexico.

La Santa stands as both a conservative and subversive maternal advocate for the forgotten victims, attempting to make them socially legible within public discourse. The Penitent acts to assault the Catholic symbolism colonially engrained in Mexican nationalism by desecrating local church grounds and statues of Virgin saints, contributing to the illegibility of the first wave of victims by garnering substantial local/national attention. The peripheral Virgin stands as the Mexican national symbol, representing the collective fears and aspirations of the nation in a way that reflects upon the U.S.-Mexico border’s liminal capacity. Though the victims seem to exist outside of the national imagination, confined to a kind of limbo akin to U.S.-Mexico borderlands, they are unburied and eternally witnessed through Bolaño’s final exercise of authorial “Facultad”.

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