Progress, week 19-25th February

This week we’ve been focussing on more detailed analysis of the source material, having established a fair amount of historical context in the secondary readings:

  • Memories of Resistance – Women Activists from the Spanish Civil War – Shirley Mangini
  • Defying Male Civilisation: Women in the Spanish Civil War – Mary Nash
  • The Tragic Woman: Female Victimhood in the Cinema of the Spanish Civil War – Amindya Raychaudhuri

What has been important is contextualising the events of the films in the broader socio-political situation in Spain at the time

  • In Pan’s Labyrinth this means the immediate and deliberate repression of women’s rights and wellbeing in the years immediately following the Civil War – i.e. the repeal of divorce and abortion rights, legal and financial freedoms, and the re-establishment of the home (private sphere) as the only acceptable place for women in Spanish society
    • There is room for plenty of analysis of the overtly gendered conflict that plays out between individual characters – most notably Captain Vidal, Ofelia, Carmen and Mercedes – and also how this mirrors or represents the broader repressive state of Spanish fascism and the patriarchal ideals of Franco’s Spain
  • In Uncertain Glory crucial aspects of analysis are the ways in which we gain insight into the longstanding suffering of women in Spain’s patriarchal society (through the situation of La Carlana & her degenerate father), and how the violence of the frontline is played out in the lives of the women characters (Trini, whose wellbeing and support is completely disregarded by Lluis, and La Carlana, who is seen through a quite obviously misogynistic lense as a seductive ‘femme fatale’ who seduces Lluis, while in actuality she is a woman who has suffered variously at the hands of men and makes no active effort to engage with him, furthermore her treatment at the hands of Soleras is nothing short of overtly misogynistic sexualised violence)
    • The film is not necessarily a story centered around gender based violence or conflict, but shows how during the Civil War women often bore the emotional and physical brunt of the men’s experience of front line fighting

As well as specific scene analysis, we have also been working on the literary analysis of the films’ dialogue – in English and in Spanish – to intimately analyse the issues exposed in the main themes within the minutiae of the works

Conflict in Anzaldúa Essay Abstract

Conflict often manifests most intensely at the intersections of identities, oppressions, cultures and nation-states. Gloria Anzaldúa’s seminal work, Borderlands/ La Frontera, is a text which takes the struggle for existence in the ‘Borderlands’ (the location of intersections, the zone of contact and conflict between two or more cultures, nation-states, or value systems) as its starting point. Based in Anzaldúa’s lived experience of conflict and oppression as a multilingual, mixed-race, indigenous Chicana lesbian, the text proposes ‘la conciencia de la mestiza’ [mestiza consciousness] as a way of navigating the perilous waters of intersecting identities, with the goal of using this new way of thinking to dissolve the systems of power and oppression which maintain rigid and incompatible identity categories. Anzaldúa’s establishment of the ‘Borderlands’ as a physical/ geographical, spiritual, cultural and sexual zone of pain and struggle places considerations of conflict at the center of the work. Furthermore, her use of multiple languages, technique of ‘code-switching’ (jumping between languages), and employment of various literary forms – prose, poetry, etc. – serve to reflect and highlight the conflict experienced by the multilingual mestiza within dominant white American society. The precarious position of the work on the boundaries between Queer Theory and Lesbian Feminism, due to both content and form, underlines the multifaceted nature of the mestiza and the conflicting categorisations that she endures. This essay explores these multiple aspects of Anzaldúa’s work and argues that conflict, and the desire to resolve it, should therefore be considered one of its central themes.

Essay abstract

My essay’s focus was on the theme conflict in the film Boys don’t cry. Concept of conflict was examined by looking at narrative and paying attention to the dialogue among characters. The main problem in the film was concentrated on gender an its norms. Boys don’t cry shows the struggle of those who differ from the patriarchal society and have unusual gender actions and therefore sexual preferences. Hence, my work explored conflict as struggle of homosexuals and misunderstanding of their nature.