Mothers and daughters: searches for wholeness in the literature of the Americas
Valdés, Vanessa Kimberly
In this dissertation I utilize Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973), Helena Parente Cunha’s Mulher no Espelho (1983), Rosario Ferré’s Vecindarios excéntricos (1999), and Carmen de Monteflores’s Singing Softly / Cantando bajito (1989) to examine the representation of the mother-daughter relationship in works by women from the United States, Brazil and Puerto Rico. I aim to demonstrate that the protagonists of these novels are each interacting with archetypal images of mother. The novels serve as accounts of each protagonist’s journey toward a sense of balance and wholeness. The accomplishment of this course can be determined by how each central character interacts first with her mother as well as other maternal figures and then, with other entities that I argue carry the resonances of the archetypal mother. Successful individuation, in the Jungian sense, leads to a realization of balance, whereas the refutation of this process amounts to the metaphorical and literal death of the character.