Elizabeth  Vergara

Ana Castillo's "Black Dove"; Turning Painful Rape Experiences Into Narratives for Chicanas

In the field of Narratology, “narratology” and “narrative theory” are used interchangeably to describe the systematic study of how narrative forms make meaning (2). Narratology’s semiotic scope limits textual analysis because its conventions do not adequately account for social, historical or contextual content. An intersectional representation of narrative is suppressed by narratology and feminist narratology because the narratives considered as foundation for its theory have been male texts or texts treated as male texts (343). The limits to feminist narratology’s approach is acknowledged in Narrative Theory Unbound as Warhol and Lanser attempt to understand the benefits of an intersectional approach to narrative theory. As a contribution to Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality, my study seeks to establish intersectional narrative theory by analyzing how intersecting differences may shape an individual’s narration of an experience. 

A powerful voice in contemporary Chicano Literature, Ana Castillo’s Black Dove offers a reflection of her family’s intergenerational struggles as she traces their experiences from Mexico City to Chicago. Through a revision of theories of plot, my study will demonstrate how negative plotting applies to Castillo’s narration of an experience of sexual violence. Negative plotting refers to the narrative formations in which specific events, sequences or stories take their meaning from textually triggered, though not necessarily textually inscribed, antithesis (35). Thus, my research asks the following question: “What are the different ways race and class affect Ana Castillo’s writing as she transforms her painful rape experience into narrative?” The results will demonstrate how intersectional narrative theory offers a deeper understanding of time and place into an analysis of how Chicana narratives may work out the dynamics of Chicana identity and actions.