Deseos de comunidad en el personaje intersticial y marginal: en la novela y el cine de los noventa en México
Moreno, Jose Antonio
University of Kansas
Spanish & Portuguese
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In this study I define the concept of the interstitial and marginal character in Mexican novels and films of the 1990s as a model of subjective instability who must negotiate ethical and moral values at a time of tension, rupture and radical change. Both types of character express collective emotions. The interstitial character succeeds, on the one hand, in creating an alternative community in response to the failure of national institutions. The marginal character, on the other hand, lacks narrative agency and fails in his or her attempts to build group cohesion based on values and community ideals. These interstitial and marginal characters emerge due to profound socioeconomic, political and cultural changes caused by economic neoliberalism, whose impact affects not only spatial-temporal transformations but life-style changes as well. The first chapter analyzes the novel Señorita México (Enrique Serna, 1992) drawing upon studies of beauty pageants, which are viewed as political and representational strategies within the context of mass communication and advertising rhetoric. Beauty pageants elevate frivolousness in order to deflect attention from serious national problems, and impede the formation of community. In the second chapter, the protagonist of the novel Salón de belleza (Mario Bellatin, 1994) demonstrates the radical separation between the world of the ill and that of the well. His interstice is a space revealed and concretized at moments of cultural tension in the beauty parlor. The third chapter examines the diaspora and errancy of the global labor market, of cultures in contact and identities in process of exchange in the novel Los perros de Cook Inlet (Alberto López Fernández, 1998). The novel mirrors and illuminates a part of the reality of global migration. The final chapter treats the film Amores perros (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2000), which focuses on the social energy and transgressive position of a marginal character whose sensibility is mediated by violence. When the character leaves the world of violence, thus moving from the marginal toward the interstitial, he opens the possibility of realizing his desire for community. The three novels and the film suggest an analysis that explores the interstitial and marginal characters' changes in life-style, conception of daily life, and their adaptation to or rejection of the rituals of modernity (specifically, modernity generated by technological innovations and of urban complexity). My critical exploration addresses the concepts of nation and fragmented identity as well as the conditions of social invisibility due to migratory, gender, political, sexual and health issues.
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