UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Several sides to the story : representation and reading, movement and space, and female coalition in Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper Houston, Kathryn


Salvador Plascencia’s novel The People of Paper explores many identities and narrative perspectives through its polyvocal narration and varying levels of fiction and reality, where the metafictional narration enlists the reader to question the act of reading and the veracity of fiction. The characters move through many different spaces, making the marginal central. This is reflected both in the narrated space and the space of the page, where topography and movement are reflected within the experimental layout and typography. Finally, I explore these varying perspectives and the materiality of the novel in order to discuss the coalition of female characters and the harnessing of the technology of paper in order to re-shape and question female bodies and identities within Chicana literature and feminisms. I engage with Roland Barthes’ “The Death of the Author” in order to question the act of reading and the distinctions between reality and fiction. I apply Michel Foucault’s spatial concept of heterotopia in order to analyze the town of El Monte, a real town, yet here made fictional. Finally, I refer to Donna Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto and Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands, in order to discuss the coalition or community of female characters and new conceptions of female identity and agency through heteroglossia, or multiple perspectives or narrative voices. I conclude that, in creating a dialogue between its characters, the text seeks to broaden representation within Chicana/o literature through questioning the act of reading, movement and space, and collective female identity.

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