A Borderlands Poetics of Healing: Negotiation of Trauma in Contemporary Chicana Writing

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Yay İ. C.

15th Eurasian Conference on Language & Social Sciences, Vilniaus, Lithuania, 25 - 26 February 2023, pp.79

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Vilniaus
  • Country: Lithuania
  • Page Numbers: pp.79
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


In the light of trauma studies, the present study examines three distinct contemporary texts of Chicana writing, which utilize folkloric, mythological, spiritual, oral and performance rituals to heal wounded female bodies and traumatic identities of rupture. The common denominator in these texts is the recurrent female prototype who is maimed psychologically and/or somatically due to the trauma caused by their liminal identity on the literal and metaphorical terrain that lies between Mexico and the United States of America, through an ongoing history of colonization, racism, sexism and cultural genocide. In the end though, these texts offer transformative attempts of curing the diseased individual, who initially remembers, and then reconstructs and finally works through her traumatic experiences, to create an invigorating perspective of healing, both at the individual and societal levels. By examining Ana Castillo’s So Far From God (1993), Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera (1987), and Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street (1983), the present study offers a history of the folkloric, oral and written strategies and recipes of remedies which these writers utilize as an act of liberating the female agency from her traumatic state, eventually offering alternative means towards wholeness. The transformative act of healing then becomes indistinguishable from a new refiguration of the borders that separate the hitherto normative paradigms of race, gender, history, language, body, and even the textual genre itself, seeking an answer to the vexing question: To what extend does the individual have the agency of narrating and acting his or her will to reimagine liberatory tactics so as to transform the haunting memories into a liberatory vision of healing?