Anti-Fascist Rites of Passage in Sender, Delibes, Laforet, Matute, and Martín Gaite
Chapter Six: Passage Lost, Passage Regained: Martín Gaite’s Entre visillos and El cuarto de atrás
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Passage Lost, Passage Regained: Martín Gaite’s Entre visillos and El cuarto de atrás
Entre visillos ([Looking Out From] Behind the Curtains, 1958) and El cuarto de atrás (The Back Room, 1978) deal directly with coming of age for young Spanish women. María del Carmen Riddell identifies both Matute’s Primera memoria (just discussed) and Entre visillos as examples of the Bildungsroman with a feminine perspective (67). In Entre visillos, Martín Gaite focuses on young women in a provincial capital who are consumed with the idea of marriage, a formal recognition of passage to adulthood. In El cuarto de atrás, the narrator attempts to reassemble her youth and childhood during the Franco years and in the process reviews how the Franco regime impacted her formation. Though these novels are in some ways different from the four works previously studied above, both explore similar themes related to adolescent development in a repressive fascist society.
Entre visillos was published just two years before Primera memoria, and so it falls in the same general time frame and cultural episteme. According to Joan Lipman Brown (“One Autobiography, Twice Told”), El cuarto de atrás (1978) actually re-tells almost the same story as Entre visillos in that they both center on identical key issues regarding a woman’s place in the social order. Entre visillos spotlights only one young woman who resists conformity to the regime’s character molding influences, but the...
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