Presentation Title

The Afterlife of A Portrait: Carlos Fuentes’ Joycean Reframing of Mexican National Identity in The Death of Artemio Cruz

Faculty Mentor

Charles Adams

Start Date

18-11-2017 1:30 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 1:45 PM

Location

15-1823

Session

Humanities 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

This presentation analyzes colonialism as an inhibitor of identity formation in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962). Colonial tradition threatens to suffocate Stephen Dedalus and Artemio Cruz as they come of age in Dublin and Mexico City. Culturally inherited traditions of defeatism and subservience in the face of imperialism challenge Stephen and Artemio’s ability to construct autonomous understandings of themselves not just as individuals, but as citizens of Ireland and Mexico. Both authors’ writing is concerned with what Fuentes calls “the universality” of experience. Joyce’s protagonist Stephen verbalizes his rejection of nationalism to his peers and thinks that only by abandoning it will he be able to achieve a universalized understanding of himself. Like Stephen, Artemio believes that he must abandon local practices of tradition and understandings of history. Artemio has a conscience that aggressively critiques his, as well as the Mexican race’s, reliance on a nationalism that is constructed as an answer to colonialism. While Stephen and Artemio fail to fully achieve an idealized cosmopolitan identity, both Joyce and Fuentes suggest that their protagonists, on some unconscious level, briefly recognize the unfeasibility of their approaches in order to illustrate how the legacy of colonialism mars identity formation.

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Nov 18th, 1:30 PM Nov 18th, 1:45 PM

The Afterlife of A Portrait: Carlos Fuentes’ Joycean Reframing of Mexican National Identity in The Death of Artemio Cruz

15-1823

This presentation analyzes colonialism as an inhibitor of identity formation in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962). Colonial tradition threatens to suffocate Stephen Dedalus and Artemio Cruz as they come of age in Dublin and Mexico City. Culturally inherited traditions of defeatism and subservience in the face of imperialism challenge Stephen and Artemio’s ability to construct autonomous understandings of themselves not just as individuals, but as citizens of Ireland and Mexico. Both authors’ writing is concerned with what Fuentes calls “the universality” of experience. Joyce’s protagonist Stephen verbalizes his rejection of nationalism to his peers and thinks that only by abandoning it will he be able to achieve a universalized understanding of himself. Like Stephen, Artemio believes that he must abandon local practices of tradition and understandings of history. Artemio has a conscience that aggressively critiques his, as well as the Mexican race’s, reliance on a nationalism that is constructed as an answer to colonialism. While Stephen and Artemio fail to fully achieve an idealized cosmopolitan identity, both Joyce and Fuentes suggest that their protagonists, on some unconscious level, briefly recognize the unfeasibility of their approaches in order to illustrate how the legacy of colonialism mars identity formation.