El cuarto de atras (Libros Del Tiempo) (Spanish Edition)
The protagonist of El cuarto herself suggests this when she writes: What is important here is that new ideas about writing, memory and history are produced not only by the individ- ual writer but out of a process of exchange between the writer and interlocutor. The protagonist chooses to occupy her own private space. The back- room becomes a kind of public sphere, in which an oral discourse is broadcast far beyond the walls of the home.
Among the topics discussed in this public sphere are dominant modes of inhabiting private space which the narrator wants to contest: Imagined Communites, New York, Verso, As the child enters this private space she immediately feels enclosed and repressed by the atmosphere of the house. It is a place where order is venerated, where we see examples of a private space that is being carefully arranged by an Angel of the Home: The use of private space by her grandmother evokes the mid-Victorian age where the house was necessarily a battlefield — a place where daily, summer and winter, mistress and maid fought against the dirt and cold for cleanliness.
This is the scene of labor, effort and perpetual struggle: El cuarto shows that the idea of the Angel of the Home is not simply a general gender ideology, but one put to specific use by Franco.
El cuarto de atras (Libros Del Tiempo) (Spanish Edition)
For the regime is inter- ested in relegating women to the private space of the home for political, as well as gender, ideological reasons. The novel shows that Francoism involves an ef- fort to colonize private space, and thereby erode possible sources of resistance.
According to the protagonist, women were the ones who felt most acutely the repressive apparatus of the regime: In a speech on behalf of the Falangista women of Spain, Pilar Primo de Rivera was quoted saying the following: But to the extent that Francoism penetrates into the domestic sphere, it also unintentionally politicizes it: Her desire for a garret can be read as a desire for a dif- have as their patriotic task is the home.
This is a space which the children inhabited freely and which stood in stark contrast to the uses of backrooms during the Franco years as waiting rooms devoid of any sense of publicness. In this back room, creativity and happiness predominated: In this space, the rules of order did not apply — that is, they were free to use the space in an alternative way. The children did not feel the need to venture outside of the home because they could find freedom in the back room of the house.
With the beginning of the war, this changes. Order slowly takes over the chaos of the room and this change is represented through the changes in the use of a large aparador: This change in the use of the space of the back room happens gradually until the children are displaced from the room and their childhood is taken over by the world of the adults, that is, by the conditions that emerge from the war: With the disappearance of the back room the child is then forced out of pure necessity to look for alternative spaces in which she can exercise her need for freedom.
Initially, the child is seduced by the world of consumerism; she desires to fill the emptiness created by the disappearance of the back room by acquiring a set of porcelain dishes: The child visits the storefront continuously and stares at the set of porcelain dishes through the window with longing. One day she decides to take her friend to see it, but the friend is not impressed and in turn initiates her into the world of invention and imagination: Some features of WorldCat will not be available.
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El cuarto de atras/ The back Room by Carmen Martin Gaite (2009, Hardcover)
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