Morality, equality and national identity in Carmen Lyra's Cuentos de mi tía Panchita

Brooks, Catherine Elizabeth (2017). Morality, equality and national identity in Carmen Lyra's Cuentos de mi tía Panchita. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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This study argues that Lyra used Cuentos de mi tia Panchita as a vehicle to promote her socio-educational vision, whilst also endorsing a distinctive national identity and strong moral messages. Stories are examined for themes including Costa Rican national identity and the author's political ideology with particular reference to morality, and gender and class equality. Subversion of moral and patriarchal values is also explored. Moral contradictions are identified and discussed, leading to the conclusion that Lyra's work includes examples of both positive and negative behaviour. It is suggested that Lyra does not differentiate character traits or domestic situations based on gender stereotypes; her characters are equals. Furthermore, although some stories include various socio-economic groups, they also feature characters that transcend the different social classes. Lyra promotes gender equality for all, and her protagonists present inventive strategies for coping with social inequalities. The moral inferences throughout the text may help children construct their own values and social convictions. Such values, in addition to the cultural authenticity of the text, are seemingly just as relevant to Costa Rican children today, as confirmed by the immense popularity of the Cuentos de mi tia Panchita and the continued interest it receives from literary scholars.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism


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