UBC Theses and Dissertations
Who am I?: questioning identity in three short stories by Liliana Heker Gardiner, Elee
This thesis focuses on the question of identity in three short stories by the Argentine writer Liliana Heker (1943-); "La fiesta ajena" (The Stolen Party), "Berkeley o Mariana del universo" (Bishop Berkeley or Mariana of the Universe), and "Georgina Requeni o la elegida" (Georgina Requeni or The Chosen One). Heker's texts are founded on the assumption that a sense of identity arises from the mediation of social objective discourses (who the world tells me I am) and the subjective concept of self (who I think I am). The author began publishing her works in 1966, the same year that Argentina came under the military rule of Juan Carlos Ongania. The synchronicity of Heker's foray into literature and the beginning of a period of military governments whose repression and violence spanned three decades is symbolic of Heker's function as literary historiographer. Through the examination of moments of epiphany that alter one's identity, slightly or tremendously, Heker enunciates the protagonists' identity against the backdrop of the collective social consciousness and lays bare cultural assumptions of class, power, and gender that are crucial for understanding Argentine society. Heker's belief that "toda polemica es enriquecedora en la medida que permite la confrontation de dos sistemas de ideas" (all polemic is enriching in that it allows for the confrontation of two systems of ideas) is the reason she creates historically anchored texts that question the role of the dialectic of social discourses in the formation of identity.
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