Women in the workplace : four Spanish novels by women, 1979--1998
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The last twenty five years of the twentieth century in Spain saw many changes. After Francoís death (1975), Spanish women increased their literary production, adding an assertive female voice in fiction. In this study, I examine novels spanning the years 1979-1998: CrÛnica del desamor (1979) by Rosa Montero, Varada tras el ˙ltimo naufragio (1980) by Esther Tusquets, Amor, curiosidad, prozac y dudas (1997) by LucÌa Etxebarria, and Atlas de geografÌa humana (1998) by Almudena Grandes. Each novel deals with three main issues: women in the workplace, women and sexuality, and women and childbearing. In Chapter Two, I show how Montero discusses womenís newfound sexual freedom, discrimination facing women in the workplace, and non-traditional family configurations. I use vii linguistic theory to emphasize how women appropriate traditionally male forms of discourse in order to break down gender barriers. In Chapter Three, I explore how Tusquets employs fairy tales to question the traditional patriarchal structures of Spanish society. By rewriting the ending of these tales, Tusquets alludes to Spainís need to adjust traditions to the new times. I analyze Etxebarriaís innovative use of candid, vulgar language, references to drugs and music, and her upfront discussions about sexuality in my fourth chapter. Through Etxebarriaís questioning of many accepted institutions such as marriage, heterosexuality, and multinational corporations, she expresses the opinions of her generation. Chapter Five focuses on Almudena Grandesís novel about the lives of professional women. She uses a multi-voiced approach to examine women as professionals and better understand their concerns. Grandes juxtaposes certain feminist and postfeminist characteristics, allowing her readers to explore the different possibilities open to them. From raising readersí consciousness about inequality in the workplace and the difficulties of raising children while working, to re-inventing the language of sexuality from a female viewpoint, womenís writing during these nineteen years bears almost no resemblance to writing by women before the viii death of Franco. In the late twentieth century, for the first time female authors articulate womenís issues in bold, innovative language. They have become a fresh and commanding presence in fictional prose writing in Spain.