The omnipotence of ideology: The struggle for redemption in "La divina reclusa" (1938), "Respuesta a Sor Filotea" (1691), and "El Periquillo Sarniento" (1816)
Vergara, Reyna Evangelina
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Beyond fabricating the experience of everyday social reality, the efficacy of ideology ultimately lies in its successful internalization within all subjects, controlling them for a lifetime. The texts under study in this dissertation represent the ongoing struggle with this form of omnipotence. Chapter one attests to the impossibility of a colonized people of escaping national subjugation while trapped in the stereotypical perception of the Other. Máximo Soto-Hall in his 1938 novel, La divina reclusa, attempts to re-write the feminine representation of Guatemala found in Thomas Gage's 1648 text, The English-American; yet, Soto-Hall merely provides the reader with another objectified male-centered version of the split feminine. Thus, Guatemala remains oppressed within traditional paradigms. Chapter two contends to the hopelessness of reaching gender emancipation when actively engaged in a binary structure of power. In her "Respuesta," and also in her "Carta atenagórica," Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, on the one hand, defends women against the hegemony of the patriarch, and on the other hand, she unconsciously reproduces the same system of oppositions. Unfortunately, in this way, instead of escaping from it, she continues the domination of the perpetrator. The last chapter addresses the unattainability of national autonomy while contaminated by imperialist ideology. In El Periquillo Sarniento, José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi, through a system of allegory, criticizes the influence that Spain, the conqueror, exerts on Mexico, the conquered. Ultimately, in his self-portrayal as a criollo letrado, who has been corrupted by power, he embodies the failure of the future project of independence. Each chapter exemplifies the inner split that a society generates within individuals, when based on structures of power, which, inevitably, discount the equal value of all humanity.