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Reading: The Ghost and the Double: Identity, Migration, and Storytelling in Francisco Goldman’s The L...

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Research Article

The Ghost and the Double: Identity, Migration, and Storytelling in Francisco Goldman’s The Long Night of White Chickens

Author:

Cynthia Martínez

Rider University, US
About Cynthia
Cynthia Martínez is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latinx studies at Rider University. She earned her Ph.D. in Hispanic Literatures and Latino Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching areas include migration and identity, specifically race and ethnicity, in Latinx and Latin American literary and cultural studies, as well as Community-Based Language Learning pedagogies that encourage student involvement in public humanities, social justice, and equity-driven advocacy initiatives.
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Abstract

Francisco Goldman’s 1992 novel, The Long Night of White Chickens, explores themes of personal and political instability through characters who move between Guatemala and the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, some of the most violent years of Guatemala’s Civil War. This essay combines an analysis of literary form and content to explore the unease that characters experience as they traverse a range of national, ethnic, and racialized markers (such as, Latina/o, Guatemalan, Jewish, and indigenous), while they migrate between Guatemala and the US. I explore Roger’s (the narrator) unreliable methods of storytelling alongside characters’ conceptions of their own and each other’s multiple positionalities. I focus on the metaphorical presence of ghosts, doubles, and disabled bodies to examine the connections that the novel forges between identity, transnationality, and storytelling. Specifically, I argue that the use of ghostliness and disability as metaphor serves to explore—at times, problematically—characters’ embodied differences by rendering their otherness literal. My analysis seeks to demonstrate how the narrator’s use of storytelling evolves throughout the novel. While storytelling initially serves Roger as a deflection of his own ontological concerns, it ultimately becomes his outlet for self-reflection, reckoning, and healing. As Roger confronts the haunting presence of the recently deceased Flor–his surrogate sister, object of desire, and anchor to his existence–he begins to use storytelling to grapple with the seeming chaos and open-endedness of his transnational life.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.338
How to Cite: Martínez, C., 2022. The Ghost and the Double: Identity, Migration, and Storytelling in Francisco Goldman’s The Long Night of White Chickens. Latin American Literary Review, 49(99), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.338
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Published on 09 Sep 2022.
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