Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Écritures dans les Amériques au féminin

 | 
Dante Barrientos-Tecun
, 
Anne Reynes-Delobel

Écritures féminines transnationales et porosité générique

In Search of a Transnational Identity

Carmen Tafolla’s “Malinche”

Stéphanie Durrans

Résumé

This analysis will focus mainly on Carmen Tafolla’s “Yo soy la Malinche” (from her landmark collection of poems, Curandera, 1983), with occasional references to other poems. It shows how Tafolla’s skillful use of languages allows her to destabilize linguistic borders in a world of fluctuating identities, with the consequent result of constructing a transnational Latina identity that transcends geographical, cultural and political borders. Tafolla plays on the would-be duplicity of the historical character as she emphasizes the instability of the naming process and brings to the fore Malinche’s actual victimization by the patriarchal system. Such strategies of reversal combine with her will to break down the barriers between registers and genres since “La Malinche” was also meant for dramatization and consequently exhibits a double status as both a written and spoken text. Traditional oppositions between margins and the centre are thus deconstructed to the profit of an emphasis on liminality as both a state of flux and a space of creativity. Such strategies might have something to do with the peculiar situation of Chicanos with respect to the migration process (since, as pointed out by Tafolla herself, her ancestors never crossed the border, the border crossed them, which consequently invalidates traditional constructions of the migratory experience).

Cet article s’intéresse principalement au poème de Carmen Tafolla « Yo soy la Malinche » (tiré de son recueil phare Curandera, publié en 1983), tout en faisant ponctuellement référence à d’autres poèmes. L’enjeu est de démontrer comment l’emploi de plusieurs langues permet à Tafolla de déstabiliser habilement les frontières linguistiques d’un monde aux identités fluctuantes afin de construire une identité latina qui transcende les frontières géographiques, culturelles et politiques. Le poète joue sur la prétendue duplicité du personnage historique pour souligner la labilité de l’acte de nommer et révéler que la Malinche a été, de fait, victime de l’autorité patriarcale. Ces stratégies de renversement s’associent à une volonté d’abolir les barrières entre les registres et les genres, étant donné que « La Malinche » a été également écrit pour la scène et se place donc sous le double statut de l’écrit et de l’oral. Les oppositions traditionnelles entre centre et marges sont déconstruites au profit d’une liminalité propice au flux et à la créativité. À cet égard, il est intéressant d’analyser le poème au regard de la situation particulière qu’occupent les Chicanos dans le processus migratoire. Suivre Tafolla lorsqu’elle affirme que ses ancêtres n’ont jamais traversé la frontière, mais ont été traversés par la frontière, porte nécessairement à jeter un nouveau regard sur l’expérience de la migration.

Texte intégral

1Together with many other classics, Carmen Tafolla’s landmark collection of poems, Curandera (1983), was recently singled out by an Arizona judge who decided to have the book removed from classrooms and library bookshelves in an attempt to fend off any attempt to sow the seeds of rebellion on U.S. territory. When Tafolla published this collection and emphatically claimed her lineage with Malinche in the opening line of the eponymous poem, little did she know that the quirks of history would one day clinch the parallel by turning her into a “traitor” to her own homeland. However, closer textual analysis of this poem reveals Tafolla’s determination not to pit one world against another but to draw the best of both worlds in an impassioned appeal to a transcendental vision most eloquently conveyed here by the persona of Malinche. Of all her poems, this is probably the one in which Tafolla’s transnational feminist consciousness is most clearly brought to bear on the politics of gender roles.

  • 1 Born around 1500, the young woman was the daughter of a cacique and consequently received an educat (...)

2“La Malinche” was written in the mid-1970s, at a time when quite a few Chicana writers started reconfiguring the historical figure of Malintzín1. As noted by Mary Louise Pratt, this was the time when “Malintzín became an important site around which Mexican American [...] women negotiated their own struggles of identity” (Pratt 1995: 860). In her own study of Chicana writers’ poetic adaptations of the myth, Pratt focuses on poems by Sosa Riddell, Helen Silvas, and Naomi Quiñonez before proposing her own interpretation of Tafolla’s “La Malinche.” She identifies Riddell’s appropriation as a way of “[claiming] that position [the position assigned to her by the myth] as an autonomous space of being, rather than a dependent space ascribed from the outside by others” (idem: 863). Riddell’s sophisticated code-switching is also praised as a form of empowerment: “I own both your language and mine, the minority speaker says; both are mine to combine and recombine as I choose.” (Ibid.) Silvas’s “Malinche Reborn” (1988), Pratt argues, goes beyond traditional associations of Malintzín with a traitor to her own people by showing her as “a traitor to herself and her own psychic integrity” (idem: 865) after having become the victim of betrayal by her white lover. As for Quiñonez’s poem, “Trilogy” (1985), it brings together three women from different mythological systems (Eve, Malinche, and Helen of Troy) and challenges the vision according to which they were instrumental in bringing about the downfall of their peoples. To do so, Quiñonez chooses to “reinsert Malinche into the history of patriarchy, not as a free-standing historical agent, but as a subject constituted by her society” (Pratt 1995: 866). Turning her attention to Tafolla’s earlier appropriation of the myth, Pratt points out how the beginning of the poem “echoes the opening line of one of the foundational texts both of Chicano literature and of Chicano nationalism, the powerful poem ‘Yo soy Joaquin / I am Joaquin’ written by Rodolpho ‘Corky’ Gonzales in 1967” (idem: 868). This intertextual dimension consequently allows her to emphasize Tafolla’s possible desire to challenge Gonzales’s association of Chicano identity with a “normative male subject” (Pratt, 868) and to present instead “an analogous foundational project, but this time for a specifically female subject and perhaps a Chicana nationalism” (idem: 869).

  • 2 See Michael F. O’Riley’s article “‘Métissage’ and Autobiography in Kim Lefèvre’s Moi, Marina la Mal (...)

3It seems to me, however, that confining Tafolla’s revisionary approach to Malinche within the borders of national discourse somehow prevents us from appreciating the actual scope of her poetic project. Half a century after the initial task of rehabilitation was undertaken by Chicana writers, Malinche’s universal appeal is undeniable, as shown, for instance, by Kim Lefèvre’s rewriting of the myth in Moi, Marina la Malinche — a text in which Lefèvre blends Malintzín’s biography with echoes from her own childhood in colonial Indochina2. Far from promoting nationalist readings, this universal dimension actually supports a transnational conception of history, focusing more on the network of exchanges and interactions between nations than on the formation of one nation as an isolated unit. Such a dimension was already most powerfully captured by Carmen Tafolla in the 1970s, and examining the internal dynamics of the poem is key to unravelling this complex system of correspondences.

4This essay will show how Tafolla’s skillful use of languages allows her to destabilize linguistic borders in a world of fluctuating identities, with the consequent result of constructing a transnational Latina identity that transcends geographical, cultural, and political borders. Tafolla plays on the would-be duplicity of the historical character as she emphasizes the instability of the naming process and brings to the fore Malinche’s actual victimization by the patriarchal system. Such strategies of reversal combine with her will to break down the barriers between registers and genres since “La Malinche” was also meant for dramatization and consequently exhibits a double status as both written and spoken text. Traditional oppositions between margins and the centre are thus deconstructed to the profit of an emphasis on liminality as both a state of flux and a space of creativity.

Destabilizing linguistic borders: an identity in the making

5Not surprisingly, if we keep in mind Malinche’s role as an interpreter, the symbolic power of language most powerfully comes into play in this poem. The young woman’s ability to shift from one language to the next is evidenced here in the choice of a bilingual persona by a poet who has long been recognized as a master in the art of code switching. Of central importance, in this respect, is Tafolla’s strategic appropriation of languages in a poem that stands out as a site of tensions. The first part of this analysis will consequently focus on Tafolla’s foregrounding of linguistic instability as “a concrete marker of shifting allegiances and identities” (Pustianaz 1999: 1).

6The first line undoubtedly resonates with political motives, not only through the connection with Gonzales’s poetic manifesto but also if we consider along with Hoenselaars that “the intersection of language varieties is always political” (Hoenselaars 1999: xv). To all intents and purposes, this opening line in Spanish constitutes a strong assertion of herself by the persona. However, while Gonzales chose to position his speaker in the in-between state of languages by repeating the same lines in English and emphasizing the loss and confusion that ensues, Tafolla undercuts her own forceful statement of identity by multiple references to the slippery nature of language and its role in identity-making. What follows is a review of the many names that have been assigned to Malinche:

My people called me Malintzín Tepenal
The Spaniards called me Doña Marina
I came to be known as Malinche
and Malinche came to mean traitor.
They called me –
chingada.

  • 3 Note the distinction between “Malinche came to mean” and the potential “I came to be known as a tra (...)

7Her position as an object on which others freely impose their vision and conception of who she is is repeatedly emphasized by the many passive forms3. Tafolla thus exposes the fundamentally arbitrary nature of the naming process that is yet seen as the primary stage in the development of an identity. She also sarcastically foregrounds the elusive nature of language when she reminds us how Malinche was deprived of her rank and status to be sold as a slave by her own family and thus secure her brother’s right to inheritance: “of noble ancestry, for whatever that means” (my emphasis). Instead of locating her true self in the in-between space of languages and cultures, the young woman’s many names create a hallucinatory vision of a multifaceted personality that no one has yet managed to grasp.

8The rest of the poem confirms this deconstructionist perspective by showing how the persona positions herself outside patriarchal and nationalist discourses. The vindictive tone one might have expected from the connection with Gonzales’s manifesto is here modulated as the persona switches to a more private, confessional mode when addressing Hernán Cortés. The patriarchal associations of the naming process are once more brought to the fore, both when she makes a point to give his name in the poem (“My dear Hernán Cortés”) and when she gives the full grandiloquent title of her people’s ruler (“Emperor Moctezuma Xocoyotzin himself!”), thereby ironically invoking the so-called authority of naming. By contrast, one notes her refusal to assign her child a fixed identity. The offspring of her union with Cortés is successively referred to as “our child,” “my child,” and “my sweet mestizo new world child,” as if to suggest that this child eludes the grasp of naming (and gendering) in her heart. In many ways, the textual blanks figured by typographical gaps, dashes and three dots also materialize the “willing suspension of meaning” or, in this case, “naming” that Tafolla appeals to.

9The linguistic economy of the poem also throws light on the power relations between languages, which takes us back to the beginning and back to this deceptively simple opening line: “Yo soy la Malinche.” In Malinche’s original context, her use of Spanish would denote collusion with the invaders, the colonizers, the hated conquistadores who brought about the demise of her people. However, transposed onto Tafolla’s modern-day Texas, this statement sounds like a vindication of Malinche’s filiation with the Mexican race across the border. In the end, it is hard to tell whether Spanish can be equated with the language of the oppressed, the marginalized, or with the dominant language of a supposedly “superior” race — that of the conqueror. The shifting values assigned to Spanish also result, of course, from Tafolla’s own identification with the historical figure of Malinche in a poem that presupposes a readership of Spanish-English bilinguals. The instability that characterizes this opening line can thus be seen as a way of denouncing any essentialization of language as either minor or major, high or low. From such a perspective, code-switching is not used so much to assert the status of the other as it leads the reader to wonder about residual traces of the other in what is most familiar to him/her.

The search for a third space

10Such instability is reinforced by the interplay on two voices running through the poem — the voice of the traitor and that of the victim. Once more, however, Tafolla shies away from simplistic categorization by projecting Malinche into a third space that is not a mere border zone between “traitor” and “victim.” In her rewriting, Tafolla eschews the temptation to isolate Malinche in such a transitional, in-between state — stuck on an ultimately sterile border. Instead, her own Malinche conveys a vision of America that transcends such borders. Her duplicity eventually becomes an asset in her search for “another” world, as remarkably captured in such simple lines as:

I saw our world
And I saw yours
And I saw –
another.

  • 4 Note the absence of capitalization at the beginning of this monometer, as if to suggest the incipie (...)

11The various positions in the line allocated to the speaker’s action (initial, median and final) reflect her shifting social status as she is progressively relegated to the margins and branded with anathema. And yet, pushed as she is to the extreme limits of the line, she converts the break that the dash seems to materialize into an active force that projects the reader not into the space of the impure, abject Other but into a humbler world (“another”)4 whose contours are as yet undefined.

  • 5 Her emotional entanglement with Cortés has been used by a number of historians to belittle her role (...)

12Tafolla’s deceptively simple style is counterbalanced by her striking use of all sorts of foregrounding devices in a poem that exhibits a high degree of linguistic self-consciousness. The ambiguous status of this poetic piece further complicates the issue, however. Indeed, like most of Tafolla’s poetry, “La Malinche” was not only meant for publication but also for dramatization and oral performance, so that any analysis of the poem has to take both contexts into account. While some of Tafolla’s devices clearly suggest a reader-oriented approach, others could be regarded as possible clues for a dramatic performance. The former category includes such devices as the layout on the page and the use of Spanish exclamation marks to frame the word “Chingada” — strategies that would obviously have no impact whatsoever on a dramatic performance of the poem. In the latter category, one finds the use of italics, capitalization, inverted commas, dashes and three dots — all of which could more easily translate into vocal inflexions in the course of a performance. Tafolla, for instance, makes a point to give stronger emphasis to the words “MY ROYAL FAMILY” when reading the poem; she also pauses before the word “lover,” a word that is significantly placed at the end of the line and divested of the initial capital letter given to “Interpreter” and “Advisor.” Malinche’s official functions are thus given priority over more sentimental readings of her role at Cortés’s side5.

13When presented with the printed version of the poem, readers are given complementary clues to its potentially transnational dimension. The word “Chingada” sets the destabilizing process into motion by being introduced now in italics, now in normal type, in defiance of the rule according to which foreign words should be either italicized or framed by inverted commas. Inversely, a number of English words happen to be italicized, all of which refer to some otherness initially embodied by Cortés (you) but eventually transmuted into this vision of another world that the persona (me) is yearning to reach beyond borders: chingada, Chingada, you, dream, saw, acted, chingada, Chingada, see, another, Chingada, still, me, Another world. Interestingly enough, the word “mestizo,” presented as it is in normal type, stubbornly resists assimilation with the abject. Otherness is thus displaced, dis-located, through the fusion between two linguistic worlds and the glimpse of a third space of expression that transcends established borders. Far from being purely idiosyncratic, Tafolla’s use and misuse of typographical conventions actually throws light on the deeper concerns running through the poem.

14Just as meaningful is her disruption of the conventions of Spanish-English code-switching when she uses the word “family” in English, regardless of the close connection of this word with the private sphere that traditionally leads Chicano writers to prefer the word familia to its English equivalent. In this case, indeed, Malinche’s having been betrayed and sold away by her own family invalidates such sacred ties and exonerates her from any accusation of betrayal of her race.

15In the end, Tafolla stretches out the final word as if to open Malinche’s story onto new horizons materialized by the final ellipsis. This provides a fitting climax to a poem whose lines stretch at the seams, giving the impression that they might slip away, break out of the limits of the poem and eventually elude our grasp as we also strive to reach this other world contemplated by the speaker. Malinche’s visionary powers are underlined through the strong emphasis on “me,” which consequently turns it into a rhyme for “see” and highlights the contrast between “you” (i.e. Cortés) and “see,” standing as they do at opposite ends of the poetic line:

You still didn’t see
You
still didn’t see.
And history would call
me
chingada.

Tafolla’s counter-epic: rewriting the history of the New World

  • 6 The hypallage in “broken tears” further reinforces the identification between Cortés and destructio (...)

16While Cortés is bound to remain on the side of rupture (as suggested by the “broken tears” he sheds after laying siege to and destroying the city of Tenochtitlan)6, Malinche is made to bridge the gap between two worlds out of which a third one might still be born. Like the narrator in Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek, she stands out most powerfully as a “multifaceted self born out of a multiplicity of interactions” (Cortés-Conde & Boxer 2002: 139). Of special interest, in this respect, is Cortés-Conde’s and Boxer’s use of the concept of relational identity to approach a specific type of “identity that is neither dominant nor dominated (nor assimilated) [...] an identity that is fluid. Because it moves, fluctuates, and shifts, it refuses to be labelled and categorized” (idem: 137). As opposed to social and individual identities, relational identity is predicated upon a “[break] away from socially imposed norms” (idem: 139). In the literary field, the concept implies a revisionist approach to the traditional quest for identity that has been the main staple of Western literature for many centuries. The point is not to integrate a social sphere, to make a place for oneself in society; it is not to gain a full consciousness of oneself as distinct from others (as in the individuation process brought to light by psychoanalysts). It consists, instead, in defining oneself as a perpetually changing, multifaceted individual, a human being who gains strength from his/her multiple contacts with others.

17Such a dynamic vision of the self as engaged in a process of perpetual evolution is, I believe, closely associated with the theoretical paradigm of transnationalism that has shaped the critical discourse over the last two decades. As underlined by Juanita Heredia, scholars have used this paradigm to focus on the “material and symbolic exchanges” between the countries of origin and the host country (Heredia 2009: 4) and to examine how the migrants’ ties to their homeland “[affect] power relations, cultural constructions, economic interactions, and more generally, social organization at the level of locality” (Smith & Guarnizo 1998: 6). Transnationalism consequently involves some fundamental rethinking of self-building away from nationalist straitjackets, in a process of constant interaction and readjustment with others. Tafolla similarly reconfigures the ideology of home as she turns it from a transcendent space of domestic confinement into an immanent force that the speaker will not relinquish but carry within herself wherever she goes: “My homeland ached within me,” bemoans Malinche. Strehle notes how “[h]omeland is the country-sized space of home, of kin and belonging, and therefore of sentimental unity.” In the wake of Amy Kaplan’s own observations on the subject, she remarks that “[l]ike home, homeland points nostalgically backward to the origins of settlement as a moment of uncomplicated heroism and […] helps wall off foreign spaces, makes immigrants and racialized others suspect, and justifies the expansion of supervisory power” (Strehle 2008: 2). Inversely, it seems to me that Malinche’s “homeland” reaches across to the other as it is perpetually displaced, deconstructed, and appropriated by a variety of writers across the world.

18We have seen how, in this poem, Tafolla draws on Malinche’s experience to articulate the double critique of patriarchy and nationalism, but another lyric brings complementary perspectives to this deconstruction of official discourse and could almost be regarded as a companion piece to “La Malinche.” “Voyage” is a beautiful fifteen-line poem in which we are allowed to hear the voice of “the fourth ship,” the forgotten caravel that chose to remain “lost at sea,” in a space of fluctuation, waiting to be assigned a name and a function, while the others stayed on course, heading for the New World. The ship draws its identity from its interaction with natural elements: the sea, a seagull, the wind, the salt, the clouds, the stars, the wave and the sky. The speaker significantly addresses us from the far reaches of another world. It is both there and not there. It makes itself heard in the wake of the other ships but it can only be located outside the fixed, regular form of the three-stanza poem. In this poetic revision of the official conquest narrative, Tafolla turns the crossing itself into a space of creativity, imagination and cross-fertilization. The absence of a determiner in the title further contributes to laying the emphasis on the primacy of the crossing itself, as opposed to the ultimate destination. While the land remains central in Tafolla’s work, it is significantly left aside in her poetic reconstruction of history, to the benefit of an exploration of the self. In “Voyage,” the fourth ship leaves it up to the others to shout “Land,” preferring to remain “[f]orever vowed to [her] voyage.”

19In contradistinction with epic narratives of conquest which posit the idea of a national consciousness shaping the destinies of the characters, Tafolla’s poems clearly substitute transnational concerns for national ideologies. Such strategies might have something to do with the peculiar situation of Chicanos with respect to the migration process. As pointed out by Tafolla herself, her ancestors never crossed the border; the border crossed them, which consequently invalidates traditional constructions of the migratory experience (Tafolla, “My Grandmother’s Rebozo”, 107). Malinche’s own position at a site of intersection between cultures makes her a fitting subject for transnational undertakings. In a forthcoming interview, Carmen Tafolla explains what prompted her to tackle this subject, i.e. the reductive approach to Malinche that prevailed at the time and her own desire to bring to life what she calls “a full three-dimensional woman”:

Actually, at the time that I wrote La Malinche, 1976, few writers had ever portrayed Malinche in a positive way, and there were few women writers who had undertaken any portrayal of her at all. I had been fortunate to see two non-fiction defenses of her, one by a female Mexican historian, and the other by a Chicana activist (Martha Cotera). But I saw no artistic portrayals of her that made a full three-dimensional woman come to life. When the Zachary Scott Theater in Austin Texas asked me to perform something for their theatrical medley of women’s voices, I knew I had to write La Malinche, and perform her, which I did, in a long black wig and brown makeup. Yes, she bridged the gap, and birthed a mestizaje. We today are still bridging those gaps, and birthing a new mestizaje. (Durrans 2015)

20Like the writers that come under Susan Strehle’s scrutiny in her study of transnational women’s fiction, Tafolla “creates [a] displaced, de-nationalized [woman]” (Strehle 2008: 27) in the person of Malinche; and like all the Chicanas metaphorically issued from her loins, Malinche consequently stands out as a site of convergence where borders come to fuse instead of remaining an external force meant to divide and separate people.

CORTES-CONDE, Florencia & Diana BOXER, 2002, “Bilingual Word-play in Literary Discourse: The Creation of Relational Identity,” Language and Literature, vol. 11, p. 137-151.

DURRANS, Stéphanie, 2015, Invisible in the Mirror: an Interview with Carmen Tafolla, in F. Bonnet, S. Durrans et M. Jones (dir.), (Se) construire dans l’interlangue : perspectives transatlantiques sur le multilinguisme, Lille, Presses universitaires du Septentrion, p. 203-213.

HEREDIA, Juanita, 2009, Transnational Latina Narratives in the Twenty-First Century: the Politics of Gender, Race, and Migrations, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

HONSELAARS, Ton & Marius BUNING (eds.), 1999, English Literature and the Other Languages, Rodopi, Amsterdam/Atlanta.

O’RILEY, Michael F., 2005, “‘Métissage’ and Autobiography in Kim Lefèvre’s Moi, Marina la Malinche,” The French Review, vol. 78, no. 5, p. 933-946.

PRATT, Mary Louise, 1993, “‘Yo Soy La Malinche’: Chicana Writers and the Poetics of Ethnonationalism,” Callaloo, On “Post-Colonial Discourse”: A Special Issue, vol. 16, no. 4, p. 859-873.

PUSTIANAZ, Marco, 1999, “Latin as a Sign of Babel in Early Tudor Literature,” in Ton HOENSELAARS & Marius BUNING (eds.), English Literature and the Other Languages, Rodopi, Amsterdam/Atlanta, p. 1-11.

SMITH, Michael Peter & Luis Eduardo GUARNIZO (eds.), 1998, Transnationalism from Below, Comparative Urban and Community Research (Book 6), New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers.

STREHLE, Susan, 2008, Transnational Women’s Fiction: Unsettling Home and Homeland, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

TAFOLLA, Carmen, 1992, in Ernesto Padilla (ed.), Sonnets to Human Beings and Other Selected Works, Santa Monica, Lalo Press, p. 69-70.

TAFOLLA, Carmen, 2003, “El Rebozo de mi Abuela / My Grandmother’s Rebozo: The Strength of Survival in Chicana Literature,” in La Herencia / The Heritage, I Encuentro de Escritoras Chicanas, México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, p. 43-52.

“La Malinche: Translator and Companion to Cortés,” http://www.mexonline.com/​history-lamalinche.htm, last consulted 15th December, 2013.

Notes

1 Born around 1500, the young woman was the daughter of a cacique and consequently received an education. When her father died, however, her mother remarried and gave birth to a son, which accounts for Malintzín being sold or given away to Maya slave-traders. In 1519, Cortes and his men won a battle against a Mayan settlement in the area of present-day Tabasco. As a form of tribute, 20 Indian slaves were presented to the Spaniards. Malinche was amongst them. Her unique knowledge of Nahuatl, the Aztec language, as well as Mayan dialects, came to the attention of Cortes. […] Before long […] Malinche learned Spanish and became the direct interpreter for Cortes. […] She became the Spaniard’s mistress and in 1522, bore him a son […]. Malinche’s ability to communicate and negotiate with various tribes allowed the Spanish to march through territories without being attacked.” (http://www.mexonline.com/history-lamalinche.htm) She consequently went down in history as a traitor to her people until a number of writers and activists proceeded to rehabilitate her in the 1970s.

2 See Michael F. O’Riley’s article “‘Métissage’ and Autobiography in Kim Lefèvre’s Moi, Marina la Malinche.O’Riley reads Lefèvre’s biographical piece in the light of her first autobiographical work Métisse blanche and shows how both Lefèvre’s and her mother’s lives are written into this biography of Malintzín “to enable a more fully engaged critique of métissage” (O’Riley 2005: 944).

3 Note the distinction between “Malinche came to mean” and the potential “I came to be known as a traitor.” The former significantly allows the speaker to distanciate herself from such categories as her true self remains a stranger to these labels.

4 Note the absence of capitalization at the beginning of this monometer, as if to suggest the incipient nature of this world that will hopefully gain more strength and power over the next decades and centuries of American history.

5 Her emotional entanglement with Cortés has been used by a number of historians to belittle her role as a political strategist and adviser. See Mary Louise Pratt’s “‘Yo Soy La Malinche’: Chicana Writers and the Poetics of Ethnonationalism” (1993).

6 The hypallage in “broken tears” further reinforces the identification between Cortés and destruction while providing one more poetic instance of slippage through a rhetorical figure that consists in transferring an adjective from the more appropriate to the less appropriate of two nouns.

Auteur

Professeure de littérature américaine, Université Bordeaux‑Montaigne, CLIMAS EA 4196, stephanie.durrans@u-bordeaux-montaigne.fr

Stéphanie Durrans teaches at the University Bordeaux Montaigne. Her research focus is on American women writers in the 19th and 20th centuries and, most specifically, on transatlantic literary exchanges. She authored a monograph, The Influence of French Culture on Willa Cather: Intertextual References and Resonances (Edwin Mellen, 2007), as well as articles on Willa Cather, Jane Anne Phillips, Carmen Taffola, and Annie Proulx. She also co-edited several volumes of essays, including Thy Truth Then Be Thy Dowry: Questions of Inheritance in American Women's Literature (2014) and The Child’s Voice / The Child’s Gaze (2016).

Stéphanie Durrans enseigne à l’Université Bordeaux Montaigne. Elle s’intéresse à la production littéraire des auteures américaines du xixe et du xxe siècle, et tout particulièrement aux échanges littéraires dans le domaine transatlantique. Elle est l’auteure d’une monographie, The Influence of French Culture on Willa Cather: Intertextual References and Resonances (Edwin Mellen, 2007), et d’articles sur Willa Cather, Jane Anne Phillips, Carmen Taffola et Annie Proulx. Elle a également codirigé plusieurs recueils d’essais, notamment Thy Truth Then Be Thy Dowry: Questions of Inheritance in American Women's Literature (2014) et The Child’s Voice / The Child’s Gaze (2016).

Stéphanie Durrans enseña en la Universidad de Bordeaux Montaigne. Se interesa en la producción literaria de autoras estadounidenses de los siglos XIX y XX, y en particular en los intercambios literarios dentro del espacio transatlántico. Es autora de una monografía, The Influence of French Culture on Willa Cather: Intertextual References and Resonances (Edwin Mellen, 2007), y de varios artículos sobre Willa Cather, Jane Anne Phillips, Carmen Taffola y Annie Proulx. También co-dirigió varios libros de ensayos, entre los cuales destaca Thy Truth Then Be Thy Dowry: Questions of Inheritance in American Women's Literature (2014) y The Child’s Voice / The Child’s Gaze (2016).

© Presses universitaires de Provence, 2017

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Acheter