Date of Award

6-2013

Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

William Garcia

Language

English

Keywords

Mexico, theater, violence, masculinity, working class

Abstract

This paper explores two Mexican plays from the 1980s that denounce rigid societal demarcations that force men to exude hyper‐masculine facades, a cultural phenomenon, which both playwrights expose as problematic and dangerous. In their respective plays, La daga (1982) and Dulces compañías (1987), Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda and Oscar Liera employ villainous male characters of the working class who project hyper‐masculine identities in order to hide their own insecurities. In so doing, the playwrights reveal the hypocrisy and danger of a system in which society cares more about preserving heteronormative values than promoting the safety and acceptance of all of its citizens. Due to the contemporary nature of both of these works, the majority of the analysis in this project is my own. While no critical investigation exists for La daga, in my interpretation of Dulces compañías I expand upon Armando Partida Tayzan’s reading of the play. I also incorporate studies on masculinity in Mexico in the 20th century so as to provide a conceptual base for my own analysis. I engage with scholars such as Carlos Monsiváis, Sergio de la Mora, Matthew Gutmann, and Héctor Carrillo in order to contextualize the popular sentiment about male identity the Mexico of the 1980’s. With this conceptual foundation, I analyze both male aggressors and explain how the need to project such a hyper‐masculine image is the root of all the conflicts and violence in both plays. As the rest of the characters become the victims of this violence, the allegory for the dangerousness of preserving and promoting such a strict and narrow view of masculinity becomes clear.

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