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Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
censorship, Spain, Carmen Martín Gaite, communication, oppression, feminism
This thesis considered the impact of censorship and authoritarian rule by dictator Francisco Franco on two novels by 20th century Spanish author Carmen Martín Gaite: El balneario, (1955) and Entre visillos (1958). The two works utilize a “discourse of censorship” to express complaints about life as a young woman deprived of fulfilling relationships and self-determination. These novels were analyzed through a search for subtexts and hidden meanings to argue for their status as texts that contain a subversive message.
This investigation was accomplished through historical research on Francoist censorship and repression; use of Michel Foucault’s theories about panopticism; and feminist criticism of both novels. In the exploration of El balneario it was determined that a very strange dream sequence revealed psychological trauma from the Spanish Civil War, an anxiety-provoking sense of voicelessness, and an overwhelming isolation from the outside world. In the inquiry into Entre visillos, it was found that provincial and traditionalist social structures prevented meaningful communication and promoted unquestioned obedience to social norms. Martín Gaite achieved this look into society through her detailed depictions of the characters’ experiences and by viewing their social interactions through the lens of an outsider – a German teacher, Pablo Klein.
The conclusion of this study was that, despite censorship’s silencing effects, Martín Gaite’s novels do expose the difficulties of daily life under authoritarian rule and are subversive in their implication that Franco’s insistence on maintaining 19th century social and political structures is harmful, and that change is possible if freer communication were allowed.