Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Spanish and Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Stephanie A. Mueller, PhD




Bernardo Atxaga, poemas, animales, literatura vasca, euskera, erizo, mariposa, País Vasco


COSTANZO, ANTHONY El uso de animales como símbolos del euskera en los poemas de Bernardo Atxaga

ADVISOR: Stephanie A. Mueller, PhD

This thesis consists of an analysis of three poems by Basque author Bernardo Atxaga (b. 1951): "El erizo" and "Reggae de las Mariposas", from the collection Poemas & híbridos (1997) and "Escribo en una lengua extraña", from Nueva Etiopía (1996). Specifically, Atxaga's use of animal symbols is analyzed. The thesis concludes that Atxaga uses the two animals from the poems, specifically the hedgehog and the butterfly, to represent the Basque language. The hedgehog represents the state of the Basque language before the modern era, where the mountainous terrain of the Basque Country functioned as its "spines" to protect it from assimilation and invasion. The butterfly symbolizes the state of the Basque language in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as it has been forced to adapt to new challenges and circumstances. In both cases, this depiction of a language as a living being illustrates Atxaga's vision of how a minority language has changed throughout history in order to protect itself and survive into the future. The conclusion was reached through analysis of both the poems and illustrative elements of Basque history.



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