Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions
I am a writer of stories, fantasies, sonnet, prose and songs. I grew up with a dark room in my house which I spent a lot of time learning and creating there. I have a deep appreciation for photography. I am a the epitome of a hopeless romantic.
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All photographs are taken from the internet. All photographers are unknown. Reproduction of photographs break no rule in law. Wall Color. Share More Show NSFW. The painting of her is a nude and her blurring the face and murdering her objectifier is representative of her refusal to be objectified and put in a lower status due to her gender.
Yet another way Mena portrays the Marquesa as a character who transcends gender roles is with the birthmark itself. This is significant because Bacchus and the Greek equivalent god, Dionysus, were often portrayed as androgynous in their cultures. On top of this he was seen as a subversive god who threatened order in society. This is partly due to the fact that Greek and Roman culture was undoubtedly very patriarchal and they were seen as threats to this.
How this relates to the Marquesa should be obvious.
Middle Passage Narratives: Flight, Loss and Resistance – Archipélies
She, like Bacchus and Dionysus, is a character who is androgynous and consequently subversive. When she murders Andrade she simultaneously asserts her position as subversive and androgynous and continues this through her subversion of Mulvian archetypes. Also like Dionysus, her transgressions are also seen as threatening the order of society. Her murder of Andrade, which is symbolic of her denial of objectification, would cause her to be arrested and maybe even executed if she was caught.
Its also worth noting that Mexican society at the time, like Greek and Roman society, was very patriarchal and this is why they were seen as threatening. But as we see in the beginning of the story, the Marquesa has the birthmark removed. The mark that symbolically and literally marked her as androgynous and subversive is erased. This is significant because it is through her removal of the mark that allows her to be an accepted member of society. At the end of the book she is married to the Marquese and is occupying a traditional female role as his wife.
The doctor also holds all the power in this situation because he knows that she is the murderer and could reveal this at any moment. This can all be seen as a parallel to what happened to women in the Mexican Revolution.
Futile Resistance Ch. 11
Women engaging in war like the Soldaderas and occupying the political and academic sphere like The Intellectuals would have been considered taboo under normal circumstances but it was allowed due to the war. But once the revolution was over despite their best efforts they were right back where they started confined to feminine ideals like the Marquesa.
The revolution ending can be seen as the equivalent of the Marquesa having their birthmark removed and with it their power to be subversive to the patriarchal society they occupied. The fact that the Marquesa occupies a traditional feminine role at the end of the story seems to be Mena adopting a cynical view on social change specifically feminism.
Even though the Marquesa attempts to undermine the patriarchy and is somewhat successful at first, she ultimately fails and her actions seem meaningless. Mena is suggesting that true social change that is lasting is very rare and regardless of your actions it is often in vain. She also seems to suggest that one of the reasons is because being subversive is dangerous and can be alienating. When the Marquesa is subversive she is in danger of being arrested, possibly executed, and has no hope of living a normal life.
Yet when she symbolically gives up her position as a destabilizing force in society she is allowed to re-enter and is no longer alienated. Women after the revolution faced a similar dilemma where they could continue to fight for equality but they would be put in danger and alienated. As a result they chose to once again occupy traditional feminine roles. Mena is asserting with this story that true change is rare due to the dynamic tension between society and the oppressed and their inability to exist outside of said society.
It is often said that no work of literature is created in a vacuum and The Vine Leaf is no exception. Mena was clearly influenced by the historical events happening at the time and incorporated this into her story.
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The actions and symbolism surrounding the Marquesa can be seen as an allegory for the roles women played in the Mexican Revolution, their elevated status that resulted, and how ultimately they were put back into their traditional female roles resulting in their marginalization.
Deniz, Clarissa, and Nicole Letti. International School of Caritibia. Mena, Maria Christina. The Vine-Leaf. Century, Morgan, Delia. May Norris, Laura, and Joseph Reiss. University of Michigan, 15 Dec.
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