Pasavento. Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. VII, n.º 2 (Summer 2019), pp. 445-461, ISSN: 2255-4505

“A BIG PREHISTORIC MONSTER INSIDE THE BODY”: THE PORTRAYAL OF AGING IN SAMANTA SCHWEBLIN’S “LA RESPIRACIÓN CAVERNARIA”

Mariana Salamanca Vázquez

marianasalamanca13@gmail.com


Abstract

This article examines Samanta Schweblin’s short story “La respiración cavernaria” in light of aging studies in literature. I argue that the portrayal of the protagonist’s aging process questions the normative codes that prevail in the social construct of old age. I propose Schewblin’s story as a theorizing fictional account of aging, based on Amelia DeFalco’s thesis in her book Uncanny Subjects: Aging in Contemporary Narrative. The story captures its protagonist’s memory loss through the layout of the domestic space and the objects that fill it, as well as through the deficient narration and some literary figures that echo those used in fantastic literature. Aging also entails an affective cost, which is why I draw from Sara Ahmed’s ideas in her book La política cultural de las emociones to explore the link between old age and shame. Schweblin’s story shows a protagonist who slowly loses her ability to narrate and instead clings to affective bonds that give her continuity in her identity. In this way, the story explores the unstable relationship between the construction of identity and narrative ability.


Article: PDF

Keywords

Samanta Schweblin; Argentine Literature; Contemporary Short Story; Aging Studies; Latin-American Literature

Reception Date

12.05.2018

Definitive Acceptance Date

07.28.2019

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