Presenter Information

Martha EllisFollow

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

patriarchy, Puerto Rico, Rosario Ferré

Biography

My name is Martha Ellis, and I’m a senior at Marshall with a dual-major in Spanish and Biochemistry. I’m a Resident Advisor on campus, and a Tour Guide. In my free time, I like to play intramural sports at the rec center, go hiking and kayaking, and paint.

Major

Spanish, Biochemistry

Advisor for this project

Dr. Maria Burgueño

Start Date

18-4-2019 3:30 PM

End Date

18-4-2019 4:45 PM

Abstract

In a patriarchy, men view themselves as the superior One and women become the Other, effectively stripping them of their individual identities and destroying their humanity. Puerto Rico is a patriarchal society, and women there have been treated as merely objects for men to own and show off. In the last 50 years or so, though, a criticism of this system has developed. One of the most famous feminists that started to speak out was Rosario Ferré, a female Puerto Rican author who strove in her compositions to debunk the idealized perception of femininity and one of the common patriarchal ideas that women should be measured by their statuses in society. The goal of this project is to analyze fantastic literary themes and symbolism regarding the oppression of the women in one of Ferré’s first short stories, “The Youngest Doll”. In this particular story by Ferré, a maiden aunt gives up her hopes of marriage when she is bitten in the leg by a river prawn that “nestles there to stay”. Instead, she devotes herself to making life-size dolls for her nieces. When her youngest niece marries a doctor and leaves home, the aunt gives her the last doll. As the years go by, the niece’s husband treats her more and more like an object, until by the end of the story the youngest niece finally loses all sense of humanity and is replaced by the doll itself.

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Apr 18th, 3:30 PM Apr 18th, 4:45 PM

Puerto Rico: The Bite of a Prawn in a Patriarchal Society

In a patriarchy, men view themselves as the superior One and women become the Other, effectively stripping them of their individual identities and destroying their humanity. Puerto Rico is a patriarchal society, and women there have been treated as merely objects for men to own and show off. In the last 50 years or so, though, a criticism of this system has developed. One of the most famous feminists that started to speak out was Rosario Ferré, a female Puerto Rican author who strove in her compositions to debunk the idealized perception of femininity and one of the common patriarchal ideas that women should be measured by their statuses in society. The goal of this project is to analyze fantastic literary themes and symbolism regarding the oppression of the women in one of Ferré’s first short stories, “The Youngest Doll”. In this particular story by Ferré, a maiden aunt gives up her hopes of marriage when she is bitten in the leg by a river prawn that “nestles there to stay”. Instead, she devotes herself to making life-size dolls for her nieces. When her youngest niece marries a doctor and leaves home, the aunt gives her the last doll. As the years go by, the niece’s husband treats her more and more like an object, until by the end of the story the youngest niece finally loses all sense of humanity and is replaced by the doll itself.