Antonio Skármeta's Narratives of Ethnicity: Rewriting Chile's Discourses of Identity

Title: Antonio Skármeta's Narratives of Ethnicity: Rewriting Chile's Discourses of Identity
Authors: Morpaw, May
Date: 2016
Abstract: This dissertation examines the representation of ethnic origins in Antonio Skármeta’s fiction. My hypothesis is that exile in Europe and return to Chile led the author to rethink his Dalmatian-Croatian roots and his sense of self in response to prevailing discourses of national identity. I assess Chile’s immigration history as well as the development of the idea of a homogeneous national identity. Blending concepts of ethnic narrative with theories of memory, identity, and literature, I trace Skármeta’s literary shift towards reclaiming his roots and initiating a critical dialogue with established notions of Chilean identity. I further argue that he grounds himself in literary tradition to inscribe immigrant stories into two major foundational genres, the historical novel and the family romance. I also show that, instead of accepting the truth-telling claims of historical fiction, Skármeta employs historiographic metafiction and intertextuality to emphasize the literary nature of fictional discourse and the role of literary figures in inventing the nation. Finally, I contend that these narratives constitute literary lieux de mémoire (Pierre Nora), which incorporate a subjective memory into the evolving discourses on Chilean identity, thereby recognizing pluralism and fostering mutual understanding.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -