Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Departmental Honors

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Steve Siporin

Abstract

Legends of weeping or vengeful women occur in diverse cultures throughout the world, such as Die Weisse Frau in Germany (Kirtley 157), the shrieking banshees in Ireland (Chiu), Kuchisake-onna in Japan (Wells), and La Llorona (“the weeping woman”) in the American continents. La Llorona legends can be found throughout parts of Latin America and the Southwest United States, but are most common in Mexico and parts of the Southwest where there is a high population of Chicanos/Chicanas and Mexican-Americans. The La Llorona legends vary remarkably throughout the places of their dispersion, and the different variations often highlight local fears, concerns, and history. In this thesis I will argue that La Llorona legends circulating in the Southwest U.S. often show a unique situation in the lives and cultures of U.S. Chicanos/Chicanas. The legends demonstrate the dispossession and disenfranchisement suffered by the men and women who, through the disparity between Spanish and Amerindian culture and the ceding of the Southwest to the U.S., have effectively become foreigners in their homeland.

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