The representation of internal immigrants in Peruvian narrative and film (1980-2009): Cronwell Jara's Montacerdos, Julio Ortega's Adiós, Ayacucho, and Claudia Llosa's La teta asustada
Balabarca-Fataccioli, Rommy Violeta
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This dissertation studies on the representation of internal immigrants in Peruvian fiction and film of the last three decades. I analyze two novels, Cronwell Jara's Montacerdos (Lima, 1981), and Julio Ortega's Adiós, Ayacucho (Lima, 1986), and the award-winning film La teta asustada (Perú-Spain, 2009) by Claudia Llosa. These works deal with the conflicting relationship between Lima, as both the site of a rational order and the locus of modernization, and the immigrant subject, and the strategies the latter uses for settling in the city and grasping its cultural codes. The first chapter examines the representation of the so-called "ciudad letrada" ("lettered city") in Cronwell Jara's Montacerdos as an obstacle for the newly-arrived illiterate internal immigrants in their fruitless efforts to become "citizens". I analyze the much debated relationship between orality and literacy as it is represented in the novel, centering on the ways in which the immigrant's narrative voice appropriates and deterritorializes the city's writing system by relocating the rural "Other" within the urban landscape. The second chapter studies Julio Ortega's Adiós, Ayacucho, one of the earliest literary works denouncing the political violence unleashed by the civil war that pitted subversive armed movements against the Peruvian state from 1980 through 1992. Given that the protagonist is a victim of forced "disappearance", I focus on the figure of the "disappeared" as well as on the development of political violence in general, and how the two subjects are fictionalized in the novel. I argue that the protagonist's dead body serves as a metaphor for the concept of memory but also for that of the Peruvian nation and its history of conquest and colonial domination. This chapter also examines the novel's critique of the role of the intellectual in representing the 'subaltern' subject. The third chapter centers on Claudia Llosa's La teta asustada and draws on psychoanalytical and film theory in order to analyze the film's depiction of violence against women during the civil war. I examine the director in her filmic account of a woman's process of adaptation to the city. This woman is emblematic of the intense drama suffered by internally displaced persons in Perú. In this chapter I take a Lacanian perspective to analyze the voice as an object of enjoyment and observe its subsequent fetishization. I argue that the voice works as a metaphor for the relationship that the main character establishes with the city, and with the economic system that governs it.