Rodero, J. Neophilologus (2009) 93: 263. doi:10.1007/s11061-008-9115-y
The fantastic has always been an important feature in Latin American narrative fiction throughout the 20th century particularly in the short story. Todorov defines the fantastic as a genre characterised by hesitation and that cannot co-exist with allegory. According to him, allegory provides a metaphorical explanation of the supernatural and, in so doing, destroys the hesitation that defines the fantastic. Despite this conception, an allegoric modality of the fantastic has developed and expanded in the Latin American fiction of the last few decades, particularly amongst women authors. Following Chrisitine Brooke-Rose's proposal, according to whom allegory does not cancel the fantastic but actually can reinforce it, this article focuses on two short stories: one by Rosario Ferré — ``La muñeca menor'' — and the other by Rima De Vallbona — ``La tejedora de palabras''—, which can be understood as prime examples of this modality of the fantastic. In both stories the fantastic appears as a metaphorical devise which subverts patriarchal discourse and reinterprets the female identity. Through their conception of the real as a cultural construct of language, both Ferré and De Vallbona attempt to transgress the limits and constrictions imposed upon women by traditional essentialist male discourse. Far form constituting a harmless escape from reality, the fantastic takes on an openly political character in these short stories.
Fantastic Allegory Feminism Latin America Short story Rosario Ferré Rima De Vallbona