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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Luis A. Marentes

Second Advisor

Francisco Cota Fagundes

Third Advisor

María Soledad Barbón

Fourth Advisor

Michelle Joffroy

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature


This dissertation focuses on two environmentalist novels: Un viejo que leía novelas de amor by Chilean writer Luis Sepulveda, and La loca de Gandoca by Costa Rican writer Anacristina Rossi. I argue that both novels not only condemn the destruction of the Amazon and Costa Rican rainforests, respectively, but also promote the conservation and recovery of nature through the pursuit of ecological identity, that is, the identification of human beings as parts of nature. This identity is exemplified by the novels' protagonists, who were not born or raised in the natural environment in which the stories take place. Nevertheless, in their adulthood, they move in there, and they later develop a deep love for it. To analyze the ecological identity expressed by these two characters, I follow Mitchell Thomashow, who asserts that the identification of human beings as parts of nature depends on the environmental experiences and the conceptualization of nature that each subject possesses. According to Thomashow, the concept of nature is a social construction; therefore, it varies giving the socio-historical context in which the person is immersed. On that basis, the first and second part of this research focus on the environmental experiences and the conceptualization of nature that drive these two characters to acquire an ecological identity. In the third and fourth parts, I examine the notions of nature manifested by the antagonists or secondary characters of the novels. This study concludes that Un viejo que leia novelas de amor and La loca de Gandoca propose the possibility of attaching to nature in a meaningful way. The novels exemplify the acquisition of the ecological identity through their protagonists; in doing this, the texts bring together readers to nature, showing them a model of sustainable coexistence with it. This one is a model that any subject would be able to acquire, a model that could help us to protect the natural environment.