The Lost Daughters of Lesbos: Literary Influences on Orphan Heroines in the Modern Hispanic Novel
Beginning with the Greek pastoral romance, The Lost Daughters of Lesbos traces the literary influences on the development of the orphan heroine in select Modern Hispanic novels that reveal her unique quest for self-expression and identity. In the novel, an author can effectively describe a lost society from the most desperate point of view available: the marginal character. If this marginal character can forgive the condition of her abandonment, then reconnection with a functional environment will be possible. The abandoned heroine travels through a transition in the Hispanic novel that reflects the social or political views of her native country. Her family traditions, her religion and her Romantic ideal are her concerns, but they are ultimately the concerns of many who would struggle to fit in a dysfunctional society. No matter which literary influences inspire her character, the orphan heroine can be characterized as the pastoral ideal: the good, innocent and virtuous girl who conforms to the fantasy of a perfect world; the moment she steps into reality, as defined by the author, she will experience whatever justifies her struggle, whether it be melancholy, nostalgia, mistrust, or disillusionment. From Mar a to Maya, the orphan heroine searches for happiness, beset with obstacles like Nature, (including tragic illness) injustice, neglect, slavery, sexual abuse, or addiction. Finally, when she reconnects with her repressed self, she will find her own voice and her search for identity will not end in vain. She will no longer be lost, no longer an orphan daughter, but found.
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